Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

It's that point at the end of the old year and the start of the new that everyone starts listing their resolutions or goals for the New Year. 2008 was a watershed year for me in my writing life and my daywork life. Both have bought new highs and new challenges.
So for 2009 my goals are: (insert drumroll)
1. Manage my weight - this was difficult when my mobility was so poor. It's still going to be a challenge but I need to do it and now I'm in better shape mentally and physically it's the right time for me to work on it.
2. I hope my writing is growing stronger with each book, this past year I've been working on the areas where I felt I needed to improve. For 2009 I want to finish writing A Scattering of Leaves, it's very different from my other books and I don't know if it will work but I think for my own development I need to do it. Fingers crossed that my lovely agent will like it.
3. I need to organise my time better, this year has been an adjustment between working an 80 hour plus week (a combo of writing and day job) down to a more managable time but now I need to plan it more effectively.

I'm really looking forward to this year despite the economic doom and gloom. Thanks to everyone who's supported my writing journey this far. I love and appreciate all of you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ending the year

I always think this time between Christmas and New Year is rather odd. It's as if time is suspended and there is a sense of nostalgia tinged with optimism in the air. I have so much to be thankful for this last year. My friends, my fab new job, my physio, my family, my wonderful agent, editors and publishers, my readers and my work colleagues.
The excitement of walking into WH Smiths or Waterstones for the first time and seeing my book on the shelf was a huge highpoint and one I'll never forget.
I'm looking forward to the New Year, to seeing Animal Instincts join Blue Remembered Heels on the shelves and to finishing Crystal Clear. A Scattering of leaves is shaping up nicely in my head for the next third of the story and I've started my planning for the New Year.
Family wise we've booked some sites for our holidays, some new, some old favourites and I get to spend time in my beloved Wales.
In my day job, my partner and I are drawing up business plans and keeping our fingers crossed for a big project that we have in the pipeline. If it happens life will get very hectic but it will be so worth it.
2009 will bring a lot of changes for many people I think, with the economic events around the world but I think we'll all come out of it with our values reaffirmed about the things that are truly important in life and that can only be a good thing.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Black and blue

Well, my left arm is, from my wrist to my shoulder. I also have a nice big bruise on my bum, probably from landing on so many steps. To cap off my awful, no-good terrible bad day my male angel fish, Brad, died. So poor Angie is a widow and looking very lonesome and sad without her mate to bully and harrass.
I did have some nice things happen though too, my thanks to the lovely readers who emailed me yesterday to say they'd read Blue Remembered Heels over the holiday and had enjoyed it. It's so nice when people say they've enjoyed something you've written.
Mr Nell has taken Miss La shopping today, her Christmas money is already burning a big hole in her pocket as she wants a new semi-acoustic guitar. Santa seemed to do well with the rest of the Belle's gifts, they got a WII between them and have been happily bowling and playing on the music game ever since. Boo got a mini sewing machine and a snowglobe for her collection. Shaggy got an Animal handbag and cd's. La got Professor Layton and the Curious Village for her DS and has been glued to it ever since solving puzzles.
I got socks - yay! A gorgeous Radley purse to put in the bag I bought in October, cd's of The Killers and Nickelback, earrings, perfume and lots of lovely, lovely, books. I also got some money so I'm planning to replenish my almost gone supply of Elemis Milk bath and body lotion. Elemis is horrendously expensive but it's the only stuff that really suits my skin and believe me I've tried most things, and it does last me a really long time, so it's my treat to myself.
What did you get for Christmas?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Throwing yourself into things

I celebrated Christmas by hurling myself down the stairs this morning. I'm not too sure how it happened. One minute I was padding along the landing clutching my empty coffee mug ready to go get a refill. The next minute I was airborne. I landed on my (fortunately in this case) well-padded rear and bumped from step to step landing in an unceromonious heap four steps from the bottom and still holding my mug. I now have a nice line in black bruises all down my left arm and a small bruise forming on the right side of my bum. Once my family had ascertained that I hadn't damaged myself or the staircase my plight provided them with their entertainment for the morning.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Only two more sleeps till Christmas

I finished work today at the day job. It's so lovely to be working with such nice people. We had a mini Christmas buffet party with nice food and finished off our work. The house is starting to look more like somewhere guests could come as the belles have finally tidied up their rooms and cleaned up the family room. I've straightened the kitchen so now all I have to do is collect my veg from the farm shop tomorrow and defrost things. Oh, and buy bread.
Tomorrow will be lovely as I do a lot of prep for Christmas day - setting the table, making the bacon and turkey rolls and the cauliflower cheese. Then at teatime we visit my mom's chapel for the Christingle service which the belles love. I see all the people who I've known since I was a child. Then we're going back to my mom's for hot pork sandwiches.
Then when we get home Mr Nell will have finished work and we plan to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol together and eat chocolate and popcorn. Fab!
So, however you plan to spend your holiday, from my home to yours have a wonderful Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

16 Things about me

The lovely Christina Phillips tagged me with this and as I need a break from putting away laundry and cleaning my kitchen I'll give it a go. I'm not going to tag people as it's so close to the holidays but if you read this and want to do it - consider yourself tagged.
Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I can speed read.
2. I can't bear to kill things - even spiders and bugs, I catch them and put them outside.
3. I can't stand heights.
4. I'm addicted to coffee.
5. I have dyscalculia.
6. I make a really good roast dinner.
7. I can't sing but think I can.
8. If I wasn't married to Mr Nell I would be stalking Bryan Adams.
9. I love to be by the sea even though I live as far inland from the sea as it's possible to get in the UK.
10. I hate being cold and wet.
11. I have no co-ordination.
12. My idea of hell would be a skiing holiday - see items 10 and 11.
13. I love watching really cheesy reality TV shows.
14. I spend far too much time on the internet.
15. I only watch films with happy endings.
16. My favourite colour is yellow.

There, now you know all sorts of stuff about me - have a bash if you want to and pop by Christina's - (link is in the sidebar) to learn sixteen things about her.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Almost done

I've hopefully made my last pre Christmas post office visit. I've given out almost all of my cards and parcels except for the people who'll be sharing Christmas day with us. I've sent e cards to those people whose addresses I've misplaced when my computer died and I lost a file. Everything is wrapped up except one last little item which I hope will arrive before Christmas. Bits of the house are emerging from the usual chaos although I doubt if everything I'd like to have done will get done in time for the big day. Yesterday, one of my best friends stopped by and we had our annual catch up and present swap which was lovely.
I just have one more day at the day job - Tuesday and then I can really get into the Christmas spirit. My cold is still hanging on along with my winter cough but hopefully that'll be better by Christmas Eve so I can enjoy the carols at the Christingle service.
I've been thinking about carols a lot, I like some of the newer ones like - Come, join the celebration but I love the traditional ones too. My favourite is Good Christian men rejoice - which is traditionally sung on Christmas day. What's your favourite?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Almost the end of the year

So I finally plucked up enough courage to revamp my blog. The pink is gone in favour of blue to match my website. I think my links are all up to date. I took out some old ones and popped in some new but if I missed you then let me know and I'll put you in. Hope you like the new look!

Win a book!

Courtesy of my fabulous Romance Diva friend, Ciar Cullen. Visit her blog and vote for a book to enter the draw - HERE! Rules are on her site. Naturally it would be cool if you voted for Blue Remembered Heels but there are some fab books on there.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Run, run Rudolph

I love that ad on the TV where the garage gets raided at midnight by desperate present hunters. I love hearing Dave Edmunds singing on the backing and the looks on the peoples faces when they get windscreen wipers and car airfreshners for gifts. I keep getting the nagging feeling that I've forgotten to get something or do something or buy for somebody for Christmas but as I still can't think what it is or who it is I may have to seek inspiration from the ad. So if you get a can of de-ice or some screenwash from me this year you'll know it was you.
The man in action Did I mention I lurve Dave Edmunds?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cold and carols

My youngest belle broke up from school today and is busy gloating. The other two don't finish till Friday. This afternoon was the traditional short carol service at the village church for Miss La's school. It's always a nice service but the heating didn't seem to be working today so it was cold. I wish too that as well as the more modern carols that chuches would sing the traditional ones too. Not that my singing was up to much thanks to my cold and sore throat.
I do feel quite Christmassy now though. If I can just get around to wrapping up the last couple of presents and distributing the cards I give out by hand I'll be almost there. The house is still not tidied as I've felt too crappy to do all the things I'd planned - ah well, I can always rope in the belles to help at the weekend.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to..

Mr Nell, who shares his birthday with Jane Austen.
He might be feeling his age after this conversation with Miss La, our youngest belle.

La, tweaking Mr Nell's eyebrows - 'Grey suits you Daddy.'
Cue the rest of us to start snickering at the expression on his face. Followed by La adding -'of course if it bothers you I could get you some of that hair colour for men that would make it go brown again.'

In other news I've been aditing my project book and it now has a name as I hated the working title. It now called A Scattering of Leaves. A reminder that if you want to buy any of my Moonlit or ByGrace books you only have a short time left so Fictionwise, Lulu or All Romance e books are your places to go.
Amazon have a great preorder price on Animal Instincts if you're in the UK. also have a good preorder deal where you get free delivery.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Living down a hole

My throat feels as if I've been gargling with razor blades and I'm feeling very woeful at the moment. I hate feeling ill especially when I've stuff to do and had taken time off to do it. The RNA longlist came out today for the Romance Prize. I only recognised two of the books on it, the Cecilia Ahern and Sophie Kinsella ones. That's why I think I must have been living down a hole for the last year. Normally I'd have read at least a third of the titles. On that basis I'll vote for Sophie Kinsella as I love her writing. Can you keep a secret? is one of my favourite books. Cecilia has never really been my cup of tea. It would have been nice to see some Little Black Dress titles on there but maybe next year. Good luck to all the longlisters - not long to wait as the awards are early this year - in February.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

X Factor - the finale

Alexandra won, as predicted. In the end I was hoping JLS aka the wiggles, might have stolen it but I think they could go on to be fantastic anyway so I suppose it's all good. I could have done without Alexandra's blubfest though.
Well, I still feel crappy but the tree is up and the garland is around the fireplace. I can't find my door wreath and we're not going to put up outdoor lights this year as I don't feel up to it. We have a star in the window of the family room and our tree is in the lounge bay window so that will have to do. I'm also not putting out so many of our decorations in the lounge this year - so no santa and the reindeer singing the BeeGee's or dancing Mr and Mrs Claus, or jinglebird tweeting a variety of tunes. I did let the belles get the singing santa and the dancing Christmas tree out though. Also we have the nativity sets in pride of place along with the fibreoptic tree for the dining room and the skiing fibreoptic snowman.
The cards are in a big pile waiting for Mr Nell's birthday on Tuesday. We never put them up till he's had at least a day with his cards out on their own.
I'm hoping I get well enough soon to give out our cards and presents to everyone. I'd hoped to do it this weekend but with how I feel I'm staying home watching films on TV. I just watched a really naff one about a star - very odd. I don't like fantasy stuff if it's too out there and this was most peculiar.

Friday, December 12, 2008


As I still feel like crap on a stick I succumbed and went to the doctors. I now have antibiotics so hopefully I'll be back to what passes for normal around here soon. I did another post office run, so more stuff got mailed out. I love sending people surprises. Getting stuff in the post that isn't a bill or someone trying to sell you something is always so joyful. I adore getting Christmas cards too, catching up with peoples news and hearing from old friends.
The stuff is down from the loft and my landing is covered with boxes. The Belles are planning to decorate the house this weekend although I see the stash of chocolate decorations for the tree have already been sampled.
Next stop will be wrapping everything up and distributing family and neighbours stuff - plus I usually get to see one of my best friends too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Five minutes of fame

Unfortunately the listen again link doesn't seem to be there for Tuesday so if you missed me then I'm sorry! The presenter has kindly sent me the file otherwise I wouldn't have heard it either as I was at work preparing for the board meeting when my little bit was on. My eldest belle heard it at school as her form teacher arranged for all the class to listen and my youngest caught it just before she went into her class. She was very impressed with hearing herself on the airwaves.
Lots of my colleagues heard it on their way into work so I think I provided them with the days entertainment!
As I'm not feeling to great this week, thanks to a low grade infection I'm taking back some of the time I'm owed from work and after tomorrow I'm not back in till Friday so hopefully I'll get chance to write my cards do another post office run, put up the tree and finally write again!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

This is the BBC...

Well, BBC radio WM at 8.50 tomorrow! My little radio snippet will be on. If you miss it you can go to the radio WM website and hit the morning show but be warned you'll have to listen to over two hours worth before they get to me and then I think it's a blink and you'll miss it thing.

It's oh so quiet

Shaggy has still got no voice, so she's at home - sigh. I put her to work wrapping some of the presents for family and friends. I've been doing one of my least favourite jobs - cleaning windows. I'm rubbish at it. They always look smeary even if I try all the tips from Anthea Turner or the how clean is your house people. Cleaning windows effectively is not one of my gifts. Actually, I'm not over brill at cleaning the oven or ironing or well, actually most kinds of housewifey type things.
I make a great roast dinner though and know lots of different ways of getting stains out of stuff. (The last one is because I'm clumsy and I have three kids)
At least you can see through the windows now, in fact, in a rush of blood to my head I even cleaned the brass on the front door ready to hang the Christmas wreath that I haven't got yet.
Now if I can just dig out the lounge and the family room and move the mountain of fossilised laundry in the utility, we might be able to put the decorations up at the weekend.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

X Factor yay

So it's down to Alexandra, Hedgehog and the Wiggles for the final. Diana has gone. I'd like Alexandra or JLS to win as I think Hedgehog will have a career anyway. Plus time is on his side.
I got up this morning to some lovely emails and comments from readers who'd read Blue Remembered Heels. It still stuns me when people say they've enjoyed one of my books and I so appreciate hearing from people.
I have the next chapter of Crystal Clear ready in my head and I want to go over the first third of my project book. However, my eldest belle has lost her voice - much to the delight of her sisters and my house is still not clean/tidy enough for us to even begin getting ready for Christmas. In my defense, cleaning and tidying my house is like the painting of the Forth Bridge. I'm sure I'll get there, it just may be Christmas 2009 instead of this year.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Reality TV addiction

Captain Feathersword and Louis Walsh - Mmm, see any resemblance?
Well, the obnoxious DVD has gone from I'm a celeb and I really don't mind who wins out of the remaining three. I do have a sneaky favoritism for Martina as she's been great throughout the whole thing. X Factor won't be as good without Ruth to root for. I suspect JLS will go next. I'd been trying to think who they reminded me of with their different coloured tops, then, when I was clearing out some of the belle's old videos it hit me - The Wiggles! Now I keep expecting Louis to dress up like Captain Feathersword and pop up on stage with them.Wiggles or JLS?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

No snow show

It's soggy here and cold but no sign just yet of the promised snow. The new kitchen is installed now at work - just a few tiny things to fix. It looks really good and everyone is so excited about wanting to use it, We have to move a few things around and order a new whiteboard and it's all good.
I finished another chapter on Crystal Clear so I think at the weekend I'll be ready to do the read through and edit on my project book. I think I have a cool title for it to as the current one is a bit naff and doesn't fit. Then I think once I'm happy with that bit I might ask my lovely agant to take a looksee and see what she thinks. Nail-biting stuff!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


The lovely Chris from BBC radio WM came and did his recording this morning. Mr Nell arrived home just before he arrived, which was good. The Belles did a little bit - La did the most as Shaggy got the giggles and Boo announced she was too shy. It was all good fun and luckily the caffeine had kicked in so hopefully I'll sound vaguely coherent. I'll let you all know when it's going out and I'm told it'll be available on the listen again feature so for those of you in far flung places you too can hear my unlovely Black Country twang lol.
We had some snow this morning too, just enough to lighten the grass and create annoying mush on the road. It looks very chilly out though. I'll find out later as I'm hoping to finish my Christmas shopping and do my big Asda shop today.
Go Here to win Books Lots of lovely books for you to win including a signed copy of Blue Remembered Heels!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Uh oh

It sounded like a good idea when it was first mentioned. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it. BBC radio WM are arriving at some hour of darkness tomorrow morning to record an interview with me. They also want to talk to the belle's and record our morning routine.
Those of you who know me well probably need oxygen at this point from where you're rolling around the floor laughing.
I know I'm not sociable on a morning until my first pint of coffee. Yes, Mr Nell is on nights and will arrive home just as the radio people turn up. Yes, my house is it's usual shambolic chaos and yes, I know my youngest belle will probably say something that'll send child protection agencies scurrying round to my house. That's if she doesn't make an on air plea for a dog!
Wish me luck and I'll keep you all posted.