Thursday 30 June 2011

Busy, But Fun

After a busy week of preparations for my daughter's prom; a house full of her friends coming to stay the night afterwards(we're talking much shoe envy from me!); my son's lovely girlfriend coming to stay; son and girlfriend getting their 2nd year exam results from university (both did fine); and finally reaching the last 10k or so words of my 120k-word novel (hence the pic of Grumpy on his chair in The Plotting Shed), I know I'm in for a busy weekend of writing (and partying on Saturday) before I can take a deep breath and relax for a couple of days. But I've loved every minute of it all.

I do wish I was able to go to Helen Hunt's (very successful short story writer) workshop on Saturday July 30 from 10.30am to 4pm at a brilliant cost of £30, including lunch/refreshments and the critique of one story.

If you enjoyed Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, then you'll probably enjoy The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly, reviewed (by moi) over at Novelicious today.

It's been wonderful having my son back in Jersey for the past few weeks and even though he's working full-time, I'm enjoying having him back in the house when he's there. He's on his way home now and my daughter, who has just finished her GCSEs is down at St Brelades Beach with her friends. I keep trying to persuade her that now is the time to look for a summer job, but 'manana' seems to be the order of the day where that particular topic is concerned.

Have a fabulous weekend and here's hoping the sun keeps on shining.x

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Wish I was going to...The Bromley Literature Festival

The Bromley Literature Festival Ladies Who Love Day -
Sat 25th June

Bromley Literary Festival will be celebrating romantic fiction with a day to fall in love with at Bromley Central Library. Whether you’re a reader, a writer or a romantic, join the celebrations.

Romantic Heroes Workshop with expert romantic novelists Pia Fenton & Sue Moorcroft, Saturday 25th June 12pm-1pm, Bromley library, £7.50
Have you fallen in love with your hero, yet? And what about your heroine – is he the man she can’t get out of her mind? Are your readers going to want to spend lovely long hours enjoying his company? Join this lively workshop to create the hero none of us can get out of our minds.

Acorn's Self-Publishing masterclass with digital publishing successes Simon Gould & Conrad Jones, Saturday 25th June 12:50pm-1:50pm, Bromley Library Workshop, free
This self-publishing masterclass will walk you through the basics of just what self-publishing is and how to do it well. Simon & Conrad have self-published and sold thousands of e-books this year - find out how.

Ladies Who Love Panel Event hosted by Jenni Nock from Novelicious Saturday 25th June, 2:00-3:15pm, Bromley Library Hall, £4
Put the lovely ladies in the hot-seat, ask them anything from how to get their reader's pulse racing to how they warm their hearts. Featuring: Dorothy Koomson, bestselling author of Richard & Judy bookclub pick, My Best-friend’s Girl; Victoria Fox author of Hollywood Sinners, Julia Williams, author of The Summer Season; and Juliet Archer, author of The Importance of Being Emma.

Impromance - Saturday 25th June, 3:45pm-4:45pm, Bromley Library Hall, £5‘Impromance’ is the new way to create the romantic novel of your dreams (or nightmare depending on the audience suggestions). Bring us a prop, anything you like, and join our writer du jour for a literary adventure in romance. Who knows how it will end (or start), but let us help you live happily ever after… Let there be music...let there be love... Brought to you by Exquisite Folly Theatre with the Musical Director of award-wining Tony Blair: The Musical

Tickets available from 0208 249 7474. For more info/high res pics contact Eleanor Richies at

Also, don't forget to visit Novelicious. This week on Women's Fiction Thursday there's a review of Menna Van Praag's book, Happier Than She's Ever Been... , Cesca Martin has reviewed Milly Johnson's book, Here Come The Girls, and we have an interview with Nicola Cornick, author of Whisper of Scandal. Please visit whenever you like and please feel free to leave a comment or two.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my fabulous dad. He's always been so caring and loving and even looks after Grumps when I go away with Rob. This is a picture of him with his youngest grand-child, Amelie, who was born on Christmas Day 2010.

I hope he has a lovely day tomorrow.

Today, I've been delivering the quarterly parish magazine with Rob as the person who usually does this round is away. Well, Rob did the running back and forth through showers from house to house, whilst I tootled along in the car shouting orders. He said, "You obviously take after your grandfather." (He was a Major in the army!).

I've been enjoying Ken Follett's Fall Of Giants, which is the first of this trilogy. You can hear 3D Audio if you go here. Although this is clever, I have to admit that I found it a little off-putting, so will just read the book as I usually do as the sound effects are in my imagination already.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Sometimes It Happens

So much is happening at the moment, my son has returned from university for the summer, my daughter is in the middle of GCSEs and is looking forward to her prom next week and I'm in the middle, well near the end, of the first draft of an historical novel and loving it.

Sometimes it's good to step away from it all and I love wandering off to the conservatory with Grumps and spending time reading a good book. The latest book I've enjoyed is Sometimes It Happens by Pauline Barclay.

Sometimes It Happens is a story about Doreen, a single-mother to a lively seventeen-year-old daughter, Trish. Doreen wins over eleven million pounds on the lottery and goes on holiday to Villas Bonitas where she meets an array of characters including larger-than-life Jack and his snobby wife Sheila who believes she's far more important and impressive than she actually is. She treats everyone with contempt especially Doreen, but Doreen has a lot to keep her busy. She isn't used to this new way of life and isn't sure if she can fit in with the other residents, then when she meets up with Pat Greenwood, the man who she loved and lost when she was very young, she starts to wonder why he's suddenly appeared at this time in her life and if he's everything he seems to be.

There are other fantastic characters in this book and all of them were entertaining and their stories funny as well as occasionally sad with several twists and surprises that I didn't expect. I really enjoyed this book and will now have to buy Pauline's other two books. You can read Chapter One on Pauline's website

You can buy Sometimes It Happens here, and as well as finding out more about Pauline on her website, she has an entertaining blog and can be followed on Twitter @paulinembarclay and on facebook.

Monday 6 June 2011

It's Not The Winning...'s the taking part that counts and although this year The Plotting Shed (aka Grumpy's Palace) isn't a category winner I had a great time being involved in the competition.

The worthy winner of The Garden Office category was Calum's Shed, which is the head quarters of the charity Mary's Meals, a charity that supplies meals for chronically hungry children in developing countries. As I said, a worthy category winner.

1,570 sheds took part in the Shed of the Year 2011 Competition with 11,000 votes being made. Here are the rest of the category winners. Now the judges including Sarah Beeny and Simon Mayo will be choosing the ultimate winner during Shed Week which starts on 4th July.

Any shed owner who is considering taking part next year really should have a go, as a 2009 Category Winner I can assure you it's great fun.

Thanks once again for all the Tweets, Facebook sharing and voting.

Yesterday I took part in Race For Life with my daughter, sister & her dog, two neices and sis-in-law (with baby in pushchair). We all had great fun and as usual the Esplanade (along the beachfront) was awash with all shades of pink between 11 and 12noon. I've just heard on our local news that the 1,200+ women for this event raised approximately £100,000. Isn't that wonderful?

Friday 3 June 2011

Reading, Writing, Chillin'

The sun is shining (my lawn is brown, but let's not worry about that for the moment) and I feel like summer is here already. Bliss.

It's my daughter's Prom in three weeks (we have the dress and have nearly decided which shoes to buy), my son returns to Jersey next week for the entire summer (yay), Rob is threatening to bring out the barbeque once again (what's wrong with an oven), and all I want to do is put my feet up and relax. Okay, so I do have to work and I still have to finish writing the last 25k or so words of my first draft of the Wip, but all in all (if you ignore the deathly pallor of my bank balance) all is right with the world. Long may it last.

Thanks for all the support and for everyone who's tweeted, facebooked, commented and ultimately voted for The Plotting Shed. I've no idea how we've done, but we'll find out next week either way, but it's been great fun to take part and I urge any of you with your own sheds to consider taking part next year.

Have a great weekend.