Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strange day

Today was one of those odd days. I've felt really exhausted all day and there have been some lovely things like this wonderful review of Blue Remembered Heels HERE and some really depressing news from the publishing world that affects people I'm very fond of and have enormous respect for.
I had a lovely email from a reader about Blue Remembered Heels today too so I suppose the good things outweigh the bad and I've always been a cup half full person.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Everything is manic at the moment with arrangements for the trip and a thousand and one other things all needing my attention. The flights are booked - Heathrow it is - now to figure out how we get there and back. I have some dollars and flight socks - I know, the heady glamour of it all! I wonder if Posh Spice wears sexy black flight socks on long distance flights? Maybe her circulation is better than mine.
Animal Instincts now has the cover up on Amazon - squee!! Next step is finding out what i can take on the flight and using my laptop and how I can charge it up etc. I also need to find a bag for my clothes - stuff I never have to worry about when we go on holiday in the touring caravan.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Animal Instincts

Ta dah!!!
Down-to-earth Clodagh Martin is very fond of her glamorous actress step-sister, Imogen - in small doses. So when Imogen turns up on her doorstep drunk and clutching a bottle of champage and announces that she's come to stay, Clodagh isn't exactly thrilled. It's not a great time. The animal sanctuary she runs is stony broke and the animals; a foul-mouthed parrot, two gay donkeys and a goat, aren't enough to attract the hoardes.

It's not a great time for Imogen either. Let's face it, staying at Rainbow's End animal sanctuary wouldn't exactly be her first choice. Unfortunately, a combination of debt and a humiliating public scandal involving a live TV show and too much booze, has left Imogen with very little choice but to throw herself on Clodagh's mercy until things blow over.

But actually, this could be a heaven-sent opportunity to get both her career and the sanctuary back on track. What could possibly go wrong?

Just loving it!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Well, we now have new shiny biometric passports. Hotel is booked, confernce is booked - just the flights to go. Looks as if we will have to go from Heathrow which is a bit of a bummer as all the other flights seem to want us to travel via Frankfurt or Amsterdam or somewhere weird and will take us forever to get there.
I got my new cover today for Animal Instincts - it's gorgeous! I'll post it up soon so you can all admire it's marvellousness lol. Right now I'm chasing up a million things for the trip - like what can I carry on the plane? How early do we have to be for the flight? Can I take my laptop and use it on the plane? Argh, all these things that I don't know!
I did buy two Betty Neels and a Veronica Henry book today in Peterborough to sooth my frazzled nerves. Oh, and Peterborough has a beautiful cathedral.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Heading off to get the passport renewed tomorrow along with my colleague, Tim, who's going to Philadelphia with me. I think once we have renewed shiny passports in our hot little hands it will finally sink in that we're really going.
So much left to do! I need dollars and to move appointments and get the belles sorted out and pay my bills and top up my phone and and and...
Going any further than Wolverhampton is a big day out for me - this is just mind-blowing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Colour me stunned

I got the surprise news today at the day job that I'm hopefully going to the US! Wow! To a food conference in Philadelphia on October 4th. Eek!
Did I mention I don't have a current passport? This means that on Friday I have to go to the passport office at Peterborough. Oh, and until I have a passport I can't book the flights - so do I risk securing the conference places and hotel accomodation? Hell, yes!
OMG I'm going to America!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


WH Smiths in Shrewsbury! And no I didn't have to adjust the display - Blue Remembered Heels was already placed like that with a wonderful collection of Little Black Dress books.
I'm next to Nora Roberts!!!
Twenty three thousand words in now on Crystal Clear - I already know I'll need to do my usual trick of going back over and over again to layer in things and tweak them about but it's starting to really spring to life now.
Working on my other project too and that's coming along nicely.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Taxes and me

Yay! The bill finally came - one tinsy snag - no payment slip with it. So, I rang the incredibly lovely and helpful people at the Inland Revenue. (I suspect they have an 'idiot' stamp on my file)I explained that I wanted to pay it and they said I could wait till January till they send out a statement.
Mmm, January - who has money in January?? I like to get things done and in order in case I make an error - easily done when you're number blind. I explained this to the nice man and he then helpfully told me how I could do it and re ran the figures and found an overpayment from last year so it bought the bill down a little bit. I told him I was glad I'd rung. We had a nice chat and a laugh. So, now I'm all straight and good to go for the next year - a huge load off my mind.
My new pens came today too - they're very red and gorgeous - can't wait to see the calendars.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things I've learned from watching Disney

I don't get to see much grown up TV. I do see a lot of the Disney Channel and feel I've learned a lot about the life of a teenager in the USA from this valuable service.

1. All US teens live in large houses with bedrooms as big as a barn which have been decorated by Ty.

2. They all have a friend who is a little 'quirky' or as we might say here 'a brick short of a load.'

3. They all wear whatever they like to school and have changes of outfit in their tardis like lockers.

4. The nasty girl at school is always a cheerleader - cheerleaders are not nice.

5. It is desirable to date the sports team captain who is not very bright.

6. Number five is not allowable. The dim sports guy must date the evil cheerleader.

7. No one has spots or bad hair - ever.

8. All US schools have food fights in their dining halls.

9. Everyone can sing - even the cheerleaders.

10. They all have a band and are allowed to play as loud as they like in a garage without anyone ever complaining.

I now consider myself an expert in this field and look forward to watching Nickolodeon where I understand I can watch Australian teens turning into mermaids.

Friday, September 19, 2008

2008 Friday Fun - Back to the 1500's

Usually I take you back to the time of the Industrial Revolution - the era that gave the Black Country it's name but this week my friends at the Bugle had this interesting archive article about a much earlier period in the history of my region.
It's difficult to imagine the heart of the industrial Black Country being as green as the outlying countryside is today. Bricks and mortar and acres of tarmac have successfully squeezed all but a few areas of park out of the region, but how different the world was in the 1500s.

Pensnett Chase dominated whole swathes of the district, where there lived people of an insular and very protective nature who were very wary of any kind of visitor, and travellers journeying along the dirt tracks and lanes did so at their peril. In 1577, the year this map was drawn up, Good Queen Bess was in the 19th year of her reign, and it would be a further nine years before the humble potato would make its first appearance on an English dinner plate. What would the Englishman's favourite take-away meal have been had they not been brought here?
The name Francis Drake meant absolutely nothing to our distant ancestors of those times, forebears who didn't even understand what the seaside was let alone where the oceans were. But it was in December 1577 that Drake set sail from Plymouth aboard the Pelican (later re-named Golden Hind) on his famous voyage of discovery and plunder around the world. Places that were mentioned in William the Conqueror's Domesday survey of England in 1086 still survived on Saxton's map of Staffordshire, such as Amblecote, Swinford Regis (Kingswinford), Oldbury, Smethik (Smethwick), Bilston, Weddesbury (Wednesbury), Cradley, Tipton and Dudley. Whereas places such as Sturbridge (Stourbridge) were relatively new and yet had become important market towns.
Health and sanitation - or a distinct lack of either - were key issues in Mediaeval times, with the Plague and Black Death causing mayhem to communities throughout the land. Very few places, if any, escaped a terrible death toll, and the Black Country was as susceptible as anywhere else. Other diseases were also prevalent; for example at the so-called Black Assize of 1577 in Oxford, all those in court, including the judge and jury, died of typhus which had evidently been carried by prisoners who were up before the beak. In the end everyone received a death sentence.
Our green and pleasant Black Country was fraught with dangers, a far cry from the romantic view which story books would have us believe. The name of the game was to survive the winter and make it through to the next harvest, the land providing what minimal income there was and hopefully enough food to feed the family, and enough animal woollens and hides to use as clothing. Travelling would have been restricted by the seasons, the rough roads becoming impassable in the winter due to thick mud, and equally difficult to travel along in dryer times because of the ruts that formed. Villages were generally self sufficient and many of our ancestors would have remained in the same community all their lives, the church perhaps their only outlet from the hard graft of living.
However, in 1577 the Church in England was still in turmoil after the trials and tribulations of the Tudor dynasty. A peaceful Black Countryman trying to keep the same faith that his father and countless generations of his family had followed, must have been scared out of his wits by the changes that were taking place. Objecting in any way to the new order of Protestant England had a habit of delivering dire consequences to a villager's door. Even - or perhaps especially - those at the top of the religious tree were not immune from Elizabeth I's anger. In 1577 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Grindal, refused to comply with the queen's order to suppress all prophesying, and within 15 months of his election he was suspended from his duties.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Holding out for a hero?

Ladies and gentlemen, click HEREand 'Meet Sebastian', for more laughs track his journey! Go On it's worth it I promise.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Little surprises

Today has been quite nice. The post bought me some lovely surprises - my friend Olivia Gates new book for Desire - The Desert King. Can't wait to read it! It's one of the Throne of Judar series. I also got a Sylvanian bear keychain courtesy of my friend Wendy in the US so now my car keys won't get lost in my bag as they have a cute little bear wearing a yellow hat and coat attached to them.
I also got some nice emails from readers today too - I love hearing from readers especially when they've enjoyed the books.
I made the man at the tax office laugh when I rang to ask if they'd got my returns. I sent them five weeks ago and normally by now I have the bill so I was worried they might not have got them. I promised not to spend the money!
I ordered new calendars and pens as I'm almost out of pens and everyone has been asking me if I'm doing calendars this year as they liked last years.
I got my hair cut at last too so I look a bit less like Animal from the Muppets. Lots of my jobs are all ticked off now so I'm good to write. Time for another chapter of Crystal Clear I think.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, Monday

Why is it that whenever I'm itching to be writing something crops up? Eldest belle is home poorly today - cue much moping around. I have a zillion errands that have to be run, my physio appointment and somehow I need to make a hair appointment too before I turn into Cousin It from the Addams family.
Grr, oh well, the post office must be open by now I'll go and queue with the ebayers to post my parcels then head to the doctors to order the repeat prescriptions. Just hope the line is inside or otherwise I'm by the bakery window and it's so hard to resist cake.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I realised I haven't posted much about my writing progress for a while. I've been working on Crystal Clear - almost 20k done on that. I even have a little soundtrack made up for the story which helps me when I need to get things buzzing in my brain.
Radio Nowhere and Girls in their summer clothes by Bruce SpringsteenLISTEN
Photograph - Nickelback
All summer long - Kid Rock
Turn it up - The Feeling
and for the end of the book when i know it's going to be really emotional this is going to sound like a really wierd choice but inspirationally, it works - What I go to school for - Busted
Even my physio is helping - I have to keep completely stiil while I'm on the machine for twenty minutes and the physios give me magazines to read - wow! Got the idea for the next book already from those.
I'm also 10k into another different project - this one is a bit scary and I'm feeling my way a bit as it's a slightly different kind of thing but I always think you have to push yourself if you're to grow as a writer and this falls into my challenge zone.
How about you all? What's everyone reading and writing? Anyone else with a playlist?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Thank you to all the lovely readers who came along today to Burntwood library to see Phillipa Ashley and me. We had a wonderful time. Thanks to the lady selling the books, the fabulous library staff, Lynda, the RNA member who came all the way from Burton on Trent and to Jill!
It really was fun. I had a lovely lunch with Phillipa and we got to talk books, the subject closest to any writers heart.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ashley and Dixon

If you look Here at Phillipa's blog you'll see we are reprising our double act at Burntwood Library - 2pm Thursday. Take part in the discussion/vote on crimebusting duo's.
I'm feeling a bit light-headed today after tearing a load of my writing to bits and then reassembling again with the help of my brilliant critique partner. But, it's all good...

Personally I think Phillipa and I are more Ethel and Lucy.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ranty Mc Ranty pants

I'm not a happy bunny. In the six weeks holidays as you all know I bought tons of new school uniform. Various bits for eldest - everything new for middle and everything new except her PE shorts for the littlest belle. Now despite the adverts uniform is not cheap. Especially not the items you have no choice but to buy from the school stockists like - shall we say, sweaters embroidered with the school logo?
So you can imagine I wasn't to impressed when after 2 days of wear the youngest belles sweatshirt frayed all around the one cuff and showed wear along the seams of both arms at the point where a child would rest their arms on the desk.
Unsurprisingly I took it back and was given a list of things you can't do with a school jumper from this manufacturor, like wash it with fabric conditioner?
Um, it's two days old, I could have washed it with neat bleach and it still shouldn't look like that. It's 100% acrylic! I've had silk and cashmere wear better than that.
The shop is sending it back to the maker for them to run tests - yeah right, like they'll admit they make naff overpriced shoddy school uniform that beleagured parents have no choice but to buy. In the meantime I had to buy another sweater from a different manufacturor and joy of joys if the original makers do admit it was faulty (insert snort of derision) then I'll get a refund.
School uniform should be wash and wear, no iron, no fancy instructions, just bung in the machine and good to go. This business of putting logo's and embroidering polo and sweatshirts should be stopped if they don't meet a wash and wear criteria.
Oh, and don't get me started on the school's so-called washable paint that they use for art!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fame at last!

The October edition of Writers Forum magazine which is on the stands now has a feature on my office! Yes, my slovenly housekeeping skills are now exposed to the world all across the back page. So if you want to see where I work, play spider solitaire and drink coffee it's all there.
Before I was published I used to occassionally buy Writers forum and Writers magazine, not often as I couldn't afford it, and dream I might get a letter published in them or make a mention someday. I would devour every word of wisdom from the mega published authors that offered advice on it's pages and follow every grain of wisdom that might apply to me.
I still keep pinching myself every day that I'm published and people can read things that I've written. The Cinderella Substitute was my first book so gets a special mention in the article and I can't believe that was only 2006. A lot's happened in a very short space of time.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

End Of BB9

To celebrate Rachel's win and because this made me howl with laughter when my daughters showed me the video. I give you Mo!

Thursday, September 04, 2008


and thanks to everyone who braved the horrible weather last night to come and spend their evening with me and Phillipa Ashley at Wombourne library. Special hugs to Lizzie and June, two wonderful RNA members who came all the way from Leicester. It was lovely to see both of you. Phillipa and I really enjoyed it. The weather may have been cold and nasty outside but the atmosphere was warm and sunny.
My daughter has some pics on her phone which i'll post when she finally downloads them.
If anyone missed our double act we're at Burntwood library on Thursday afternoon.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Two posts in one day!

I just found the blurb for my next Little Black Dress book up on Amazon - The book is out March 09. It's still listed as untitled but my working title is Animal Instincts as you regular readers will know. I killed myself laughing when i read this blurb - it's just so fab I have to share.

Rising star Nell Dixon, author of BLUE REMEMBERED HEELS, is back!

Down-to-earth Clodagh Martin is very fond of her glamorous actress step-sister, Imogen - in small doses. So when Imogen turns up on her doorstep drunk and clutching a bottle of champage and announces that she's come to stay, Clodagh isn't exactly thrilled. It's not a great time. The animal sanctuary she runs is stony broke and the animals; a foul-mouthed parrot, two gay donkeys and a goat, aren't enough to attract the hoardes.

It's not a great time for Imogen either. Let's face it, staying at Rainbow's End animal sanctuary wouldn't exactly be her first choice. Unfortunately, a combination of debt and a humiliating public scandal involving a live TV show and too much booze, has left Imogen with very little choice but to throw herself on Clodagh's mercy until things blow over.

But actually, this could be a heaven-sent opportunity to get both her career and the sanctuary back on track. What could possibly go wrong?

Spilling the beans!

GO HERE and help my lovely talented friend Ray-Anne celebrate her sale to M&B's romance line! Yay! I love to hear sales stories especially when they happen to friends. It's her birthday today too! Many Happy Returns and many more fabulous wonderful sales!

Tomorrow if you're around Wombourne in Staffordshire, pop along to the library on the green at 7.30pm and see Phillipa Ashley and me. We're doing a bit of a talk and reading a few excerpts and things. We'd love to see you!

And don't forget Big Brother - Vote Rachel - nice people rule!

Monday, September 01, 2008

When it's good...

Physio today - hip is very sore so I have an extra session on Friday and some new exercises to try. Good conversation with my agent about the direction of my work so we'll see how that all shakes down but very positive vibes. I feel really energised and good about my writing at the moment, tons of research pics to download so I may share some of those in the next few weeks.
I also just got a fab email from a writing friend and she has exciting news but my lips are sealed until she spills the beans herself - but I am over the moon for her because I know how hard she works and it is so deserved - squee!!!

Anyway on to the important stuff - Rachel to win Big Brother - Nice people rule!!!