Thursday 30 September 2010

Trade Winds by Christina Courtenay - Competition

Happy Publication Day to Christina Courtenay.

Today is Publication Day for Trade Winds, Christina's fabulous book published by Choc Lit Publishers and to celebrate I have one signed and an unsigned copy to give away.

To be in with a chance of winning the signed copy, please leave a 'Pick Me' comment in the comment box below, and if you want to give yourself an extra chance of winning a copy (unsigned) of this truly wonderful book (and who wouldn't) please go Bookersatz where they've very kindly agreed to post my review today to coincide with the book's publication and leave a 'Pick Me' comment there. You have until Wednesday 6 October at 6pm before two winners will be picked at random.

I have to admit that I've read all the books published by Choc Lit and as with my previous reads, Trade Winds was wonderful.

To read more about Christina Courtenay please go to her website. You can also follow her on Twitter here. If you can't wait until next Wednesday to find out if you've won a copy, then why not order a copy from

Saturday 25 September 2010

Greyhounds & the Wip

I recently bought a copy of this beautifully written by Victoria Kingston & Hilary Johnson. I love greyhounds and the woman who clips the Grumpy one looks after rescue greyhounds here in Jersey. It's a book celebrating greyhounds and includes a foreword by the actress Annette Crosbie OBE who is also a Patron of Wimbledon Grehound Welfare Kennels in Hersham where all the profits from this book are being donated. If you want to support this invaluable place and read the collection of inspiring and emotive stories by people who have adopted their own greyhounds and looked after many more, why not buy your own copy here.

I have a quiet household this weekend. Rob is either working or catching up on his sleep; Sas is with her father; James is back at uni; Grumps is acting as my shadow, which means sleeping whilst I'm reading or writing, so therefore he's mostly sleeping. So, it's copious amounts of tea for me as I work on my Wip. I also have a couple of reviews to write up, so will do those too and when I can think of no reason at all to put it off any longer, I'll do some ironing. Groan.

The weather was so glorious earlier this week that I was able to write outside wearing a bikini and sarong, I hasten to add. Now, of course, it's a little more autumnal and with that comes much better tv programmes. I can't wait for Downton Abbey to start on Sunday night, then of course it'll be Spooks again on Monday.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Saturday 18 September 2010

Research, Reading & Richard Armitage

There's one thing guaranteed to consume hours of my time and get me nowhere and that's researching my great-grandfather. Now, I know where he was born, died, served in the 17th Lancers, etc, but what I need is a photo of this man. Unfortunately he died in 1922 and my great-grandmother was so enraged at his dying so young that she burnt every photograph she had of him. My grandmother, an only child, never had one. My father, now in his seventies has always desperately wanted to see a picture of his grandfather, especially as he was always told how he was the image of him. It's all so frustrating. I think the next thing to do is write to a local newspaper to see if anyone in the area - Badbrook, Stroud - knows of anyone related to the family. And on it goes...

This weekend I'm going to spend time lazing in the conservatory, Earl Grey tea at the ready, Grumps snoring on the large cushion on the back rest of the two-seater and read, A Weekend With Mr Darcy. I've been trying not to add too many books to my TBR pile, but obviously lack the book-buying-discipline gene.

Summer is definitely over, but I do enjoy Autumn, not only because the glorious colours throughout the garden and the thought of lighting the fire once again in the sitting room, but also because the tv programmes seem so much better. Spooks is back on Monday and I can't wait, and although Sas and Rob will roll their eyes heavenward and groan at my adoration, they will, at least with this programme, sit quietly and enjoy it too, something they never did when I was absorbed by Robin Hood. Talking of which, I watched Russell Crowe's version last night and I know I'm useless at recognizing accents, but I distinctly heard his irish accent morph into a Liverpudlian one. What was that all about?

Sunday 12 September 2010

Great Week & A Weekend With Mr Darcy

It's been a great week. Two meetings I'd been nervous about went very well (work-related) and my long-suffering postman delivered my copy of Victoria Connelly's latest novel, A Weekend With Mr Darcy. As I always do when I receive a new book, I opened it and read the Acknowledgements, before having a sneaky peak at the first few lines of the story. I had to re-read one part of the Acknowledgements to make sure I was reading the words correctly, and yes, it did include 'Debs Carr' in there. So exciting! Thanks Victoria.

As soon as I've finished reading Christina Courtenay's book, Trade Winds, which I'm loving (perfect hero) and which I'll be reviewing for Bookersatz later this month, I'm going to sit down with my Earl Grey-filled Pride & Prejudice mug and start reading A Weekend With Mr Darcy.

Also this week, Rob and I were emailed to let us know that we're being sent invitations to attend the Naming Ceremony of the latest Cunard liner, the Queen Elizabeth in October. I can't wait. We were lucky enough to go to the Naming Ceremony of the Queen Victoria three years ago and had the most incredible day.

We had the Battle of Britain Air Display this Thursday and although I was working for part of the afternoon, I was lucky enough to see the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane doing part of their display. Later on, I heard them once more and went outside to watch them flying off together back towards the mainland. It always gives me a lump in my throat. "It makes me want to cry," I told Sas. She gave me a poor-old-soul smile and said, "But Mum, everything makes you want to cry." Not true. The only other time I cried is when Brian Dowling won Ultimate Big Brother. A worthy winner and so entertaining.

My WiP is coming along slowly, but surely, and although there are many useful blogs with helpful writing tips and advice, the one I continue to learn so much from is Sarah Duncan's blog. I subscribe via email and receive her latest posts automatically. Not only is Sarah a writer of five novels, she also teaches creative writing for the Universities of Oxford and Bristol, so knows what she's talking about. She certainly helps me.

Have a great week.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Parallel Universe

It was back to work this week and naturally the sun shone every day, although I did make the most of it and have eaten, read and written outside in the sunshine. Bliss. I've even defrosted the fridge-freezer and bathed the dog, but that had more to do with hitting a bit of a wall in my WiP.

My daughter is off to Jersey Live this weekend and so I'm going to make the most of the peace, quiet and sunshine and poddle about writing, sunbathing, reading, etc for the next two days.

This morning the dog woke me at 8.30 wanting to be let out, so I did as asked, then made my usual cup of Earl Grey and sat down to catch up on a couple of programmes that I'd taped this week. Sas came in and over breakfast we waffled to each other. I then pushed my hand into my dressing gown pocket and instead of pulling out a tissue, pulled out a teabag! Unused, I'm grateful to add. She just looked at me and shook her head.

"Mum," she asked between hysterical giggles and trying not to choke on her Multi Cheerios. "When did you put that in there?"

Rob thinks I do these strange things because my mind is always somewhere else and it's especially worse when I'm in the middle of writing something. Thankfully my family are amused by my little foibles and don't have a problem living with someone who:
a) Spends so much free time in a shed;
b) Asks random questions like, "Where is the door on a 1950s Rampart (boat);
c) Talks about imaginary people as if they were real and matter very much;
d) Stops mid conversation to go and make notes about something;
e) Discusses plotlines with a dog (well, it's not like he'll repeat anything I say);
f) Generally lives in a parallel world to the rest of the family.

What's it like in your world this weekend?