Saturday 28 February 2009


I've just been woken by S, as I promised to take her shopping this morning (groan), however my spirits were duly lifted when I took a moment to catch up on what's happening in blogland and saw this fab competition on Tom Foolery's blog.

The very lovely and talented Shirley Wells has her third ‘Jill and Max’ outing, Where Petals Fall, being published on 26th March in the UK and in May in the States.

Now I love competitions, especially ones (like this one) where you can win a signed hardback copy of a fab book. The competition is open until 26th March. For further details about this quick and easy to enter competition go here.

Right, I'm off to enter now. Have a great weekend.

Friday 27 February 2009

So, What Did You Give Up For Lent?

It's been a strange week.

We had pancakes on Tuesday. S complained about how much ash was put on her forehead on Wednesday in church (she's not a catholic, but goes to a convent school, and yes, it's the same one that I was 'asked to leave'). S gave up chocolate and after school on Wednesday when I asked her how she'd done, she said. "I've stuck to it."
"Well done," said I, knowing that I had eaten half a Milka bar (the children bought me six when in France last week) though, to be honest, I later ate the other half, so I suppose that constitutes one whole bar.
"Well, I did stick to it," she added. "Until they gave out Minstrels at school."
She's turning into me, and I have to admit I like her way of thinking.

Yesterday I received a letter - actually it was a rejection - but it was a very gently worded one. Here's part of it, "...I think you are an extremely talented writer and I really enjoyed reading your chapters, but unfortunately this isn't what I'm looking for..." How kind was that? In fact, rather than making me feel utterly useless and a miserable failure, it made me feel that my writing probably isn't complete drivel after all.

Right then, better get on with the editing. I have to take Grumpy to be clipped at 10am. Groan. It's always such a flippin' drama.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Busy Bee

I've started reading Fiona Robyn's debut novel, The Letters, and it's great. It's about Violet Ackerman, who after bringing up four children and going through a divorce, moves to the coast and starts receiving mysterious letters sent from a mother and baby home back in 1959. These letters, written by a pregnant young girl all those years before come into Violet's life although she has no idea who is sending them to her, or why. I can't wait to find out.

It's was so warm and sunny that Grumps and I were planting Primroses, Fuschia bulbs, foxglove/Lupin/Aster seeds before 8am this morning. Well, I was doing the planting, and he was busily pushing his nose into all the freshly dug earth.

I've finished my next writing course assignment and will post that in a bit, and tonight J & S return from a week snowboarding with their father. So, my peace will be shattered, but it'll be lovely to see them again. For five minutes, at least.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Pink Pyjamas

Although I can cry at the drop of the proverbial hat during any soppy film/book, I'm not one to be easily brought to tears. The last two days at work have been horrendous, Too much to do, not enough time in which to do it.

This morning I was concentrating on remaining calm, when I heard this conversation between two colleagues who sit near me.

A - I'm reading a wonderful book at the moment.
S - Ooh, what't is called.
A - The Boy in the Pink Pyjamas.

Don't you just love it when that happens. Needless to say, I had a good giggle and cheered up immensely.

I am reading this book (see pic), Forever My Lady, by Jeff Rivera, which I won on Liane Spicer's fab Wordtryst blog. Happy Birthday, Liane. It's about a juvenile delinquent named Dio who is sentenced to prison boot camp, whilst his girlfriend Jennifer is in hospital recovering from being shot in a drive-by shooting. It's a brilliant book, I'm loving it. In fact I was telling the ladies (from the pink pyjama conversation) all about it and recommended it to them too.

I'm off to sit in front of the fire, and eat some of R's freshly baked bread covered in Boursin. Yum.

Monday 16 February 2009

Happy Birthday To Him

One guess whose birthday it is today. Yup, his! He's six years old.

He's had a lovely walk on the beach (mind you, he does that most days) and tonight he's having a bath. Not that he knows it yet, but even though he doesn't like the getting wet bit, he loves being blow-dried, so I'm sure he'll be fine in the end.

As for me, I'm going bog-eyed with all this checking of typeface. Never mind, it could be worse, I could still be at work!

Sunday 15 February 2009

The New Romantics

S & J are on their way to the French Pyrenees this morning, but S didn't go before leaving me this book, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas to read this week. Ive already finished this book (5.30pm) and it was fantastic. Now I just want to see the film.

So, whilst I've made the most of having a child-free house, I've been nibbling on chocolates and adding hot water to my ever cooling, bath water - well, I had no intention of getting out before reaching the end of, Tell Me Something (great ending too!) - R has been busily planting potatoes in the veg garden. You see, I may be a little dippy sometimes, but even I know how to get out of doing something back-breaking.

I snuck back downstairs to the computer, just in time for himself to appear at the window and announce, "Ahh, so there you are. Don't worry coming out, I've nearly finished." I smiled sweetly (well, as much as I possibly could with a guilty conscience) and turned back to the screen to catch up with my blog list.

On my blog list I found, The New Romantics site. Now, having been an ardent Simon Le Bon fan, I was captivated and had to delve further. This is a fab site, set up by seven romantic novelists whose books I adore, and offering insights, a fab competition and event organizing, as well as much more. It's therefore well worth looking at. I've already added it to the bottom of this blog, so that I can find it quickly when I need to.

I'm submitting a short story and entering a competition today, as well as carrying on with more (yes, more) editing, and, hang on a sec... sorry, I just had to grab another chocolate, and now I can't remember what I was going to say. Ah well, have a great Sunday.

Friday 13 February 2009

The Best Laid Plans

The lovely postman delivered a package for me from Amazon today. This time though, I hadn't ordered it, it was a present from my mother in South Africa. So, thanks Ma. It's called, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne arrived in the post today, which apparently reveals the mystery of the hidden potential within us all based in the universal Law of Attraction. Well, I'm willing to give anything a try (well, almost anything) so I'll certainly read it.

I was going to spend the day writing, however it didn't quite happen that way.

Drop S off at bus stop - a two minute journey - then return home and spend the day writing and submitting novel/short stories.

What Actually Happened:
S too late for flippin' bus, which meant that I ended up chasing the damn thing. We stopped at one Bus Stop and S raced to get on, but wasn't fast enough (despite being a sporty type). So, we then continued to follow it, hoping it would stop again, although when it did, it was only for one person, and as they now have prepaid bus tickets, getting on the bus is very quick, so our efforts proved fruitless.

One po-faced mother, who spent an entire hour in the car, stuck in endless traffic to take a sulky daughter to school, before eventually returning home.

At home, I asked J how his toe was. He showed me after a bit of persuasion, ie, "You're not going snowboarding unless I know that bl**dy toe is getting better." Put it this way, it isn't any better! So, booked doctors appointment, took him and now he's on antibiotics and needs a minor op in a couple of weeks.
"What if the doctor says I can't go snowboarding?" he asked, not in the slightest bit concerned that he must be in dreadful pain.
"He won't." I assured him.

I'm half-way through this fab book by Adele Parks, and as soon as I've finished packing for J & S to go on their travels with their father, I'll settle down and carry on reading it.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

And The Winner Is...

Julia Gregson won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2009. To read more about it, please go to the RNA site here.

The short-listed books and a brief description was read out, as each book was shown on four screens placed around the room, one on either side of the stage and a further two in the main part of the room. I have to say that it must have been a difficult task for the judges to choose between them, as they all sounded so good.

The Winner of the RNA Romance Prize 2009 was India Grey for her novel, Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire's Pleasure. Read more about it here.

Each table had a large black candelabra, decorated with black and red feathers, and clear candles in the holders. The courses were served with great aplomb and immaculately presented. I can be a fussy eater - not that you'd know it to look at me - but even I ate everything placed in front of me.

My friend Andrea came with me as my guest, and once we'd met, as arranged at Victoria Station (where I saw copies of Caroline Smailes' Black Boxes in WH Smith), we decided to forget the tube and go by double decker bus (another highlight for me as we haven't had them in Jersey for years). We were on it so long that we thought we were lost. We weren't of course, but were just having such fun that we felt sure we'd missed our stop.

I arrived and immediately bumped into Ray-Anne, please see her fab with photos and far more detail than I can possibly remember. Liz was looking wonderful and taking photos so I'm sure she'll have those on her blog shortly, and I got to meet the fab, Calistro, who introduced me to her lovely agent and the bubbly Debby Holt, who's book, Love Affairs for Grown-ups, I bought yesterday after the lunch, as well as Adele Park's new novel, Tell Me Something. (Note to self, tell R that these were freebees from the lunch...).

A beautiful crystal, Lifetime Achievement Award in the shape of a star, was given to Judy Piatkus who gave a lovely speech.

The food was great, and you can see photos of it on Kate Hardy's blog here. I have to confess that although I did take photos, they were utterly useless, and all the camera did was take up much needed room in my handbag.

I had a fabulous day, and despite the hideous winds, constant rain and threat of snow the previous day, Tuesday though a tad blustery and certainly colder than I'd expected (it never ceases to amaze me that we're only a little further south than England, but usually warmer) was wonderfully sunny.

I eventualy caught my flight, arriving home just before 9pm and was greeted by Grumpy, who was so excited at seeing me, you would have thought I'd been gone at least a month. Today was back to work... On that subject, I shall say no more.

Monday 9 February 2009

Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2009

Tomorrow is the Romantic Novelists Association, Romantic Novel of the Year Award Lunch, which is being held at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. This is always a fabulous occasion, and it's wonderful to catch up with people I haven't seen for a while, and meet new friends.

I'm trying to ignore the weather forecast (strong winds and possibly snow) as I'm flying to London tomorrow morning, after dropping S & J off to catch their bus, and then back again in the evening. I've discounted the shoes I was going to wear and replaced them with a pair of boots, and gloves have already been placed in my bag so that I don't forget them. I've also packed The Farmer Needs A Wife, by Janet Gover (who won the Elizabeth Goudge Award at the RNA 2007 Conference), so that if I do get delayed, I'll have something great to read.

The shortlist for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2009 is as follows:

Before the Storm by Judith Lennox (Headline)
East of the Sun by Julia Gregson (Orion)
Sophia's Secret by Susanna Kearsley (Allison & Busby)
Star Gazing by Linda Gillard (Little Brown)
Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern (Harper Collins)
The Last Concubine by Lesley Downer (Transworld)

Romantic Novelists, RNA Romance Prize 2009 shortlist is:

Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire's Pleasure by India Grey (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
Promoted to Wife and Mother by Jessica Hart (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
Saying Yes to the Millionaire by Fiona Harper (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
Sold to the Highest Bidder by Kate Hardy (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
The Wild Card by Beth Elliott (Robert Hale)
What's Love Got to Do With It? by Lucy Broadbent (Headline)

Friday 6 February 2009

Romantic Novelists' Association 2009 Valentine's Poll Results

Romantic Novelists vote Richard Armitage

Sexiest Thing On Two Legs

British actor Richard Armitage has leapt from last year’s 4th place to this
year topping the ratings in the Romantic Novelists’ Association 2009
Valentine’s poll, to take the title of Sexiest Thing on Two Legs, beating
top Hollywood stars to the number one spot.

Johnny Depp, who topped last year’s poll, was pushed firmly into second
place, with Hugh Jackman and George Clooney mere also-rans. “Richard
Armitage took 20% of the vote, more than double the count of any other male
on the list,” said the RNA pollster. “He was a clear winner from the off.”

The RNA is not alone in admiration of the actor, as numerous online Richard
Armitage fan sites will testify. The ardency began with North and South,
grew by leaps and bounds with the leather-clad baddie in Robin Hood, and
shows no sign of diminishing as Spooks takes to the airwaves.

‘It’s a coup for Britain,’ said one starstruck writer, ‘not just for sexy

According to romantic novelists, the sexiest male celebrities of 2009 are:

1 Richard Armitage

2 Johnny Depp

3 Hugh Jackman

4 George Clooney

5 Daniel Craig

6 Sean Bean

7 Alan Rickman

8 David Tennant

9 Pierce Brosnan

10 Gerard Butler

Monday 2 February 2009

Being Greedy

I finished reading DJ Kirkby's, brilliant, From Zaftig to Aspie yesterday, but not until I'd spent one and a half hours soaking in a bath and ending up looking like a giant prune. Despite our completely different upbringings, I was still taken back to my childhood by so many memories that her book evoked, and have to say that her story is truly incredible, and so beautifully written.

I spent the afternoon finishing my redraft of HH&S - yes, I did say finish - however, there was an irritating fly in the ointment. Before starting the redraft, I deleted the last third of the novel, as it was awful, then worked on the redraft on my new Samsung notebook (still loving it) which doesn't have word count. When finished, I saved the WIP to my memory stick and downloaded it to my computer, only to find that I have just over 61,000 words. Surely that's far too few? Helpful words of wisdom welcome (please).

To recover from my annoyance (at self), I settled down in bed after watching the fab Larkrise to Candleford and thought I'd start reading Caroline Smailes, Disraeli Avenue. However, I was unable to put it down until the end. It truly is a fab book, and I'm so proud that I 'know' such talented people as Denyse and Caroline. This morning I woke with eyes that felt like some pixie had been stabbing them with miniscule daggers. Serves me right for being so greedy.

Mind you, whilst checking my emails at lunchtime, I did find out that I was one of the winners who had won an advance copy of, The Letters by Fiona Robyn which put me in a far better mood for the rest of the day. I'm thrilled and can't wait to read it. Read more about, The Letters, here.