Yesterday was good. It's always great to spend time with like-minded people and the time went way too quickly. Today was hectic again at the day job but we got lots of stuff sorted out so that was a relief. Even better was getting an email from my lovely editor telling me she loved Just look at Me Now and there were no revisions - yay! Just a few little bits after copy edits. I have been so worried about this story in case i'd somehow forgotten how to write third person and that i hadn't managed to do the story justice - it's quite a complex plot in some respects and involves a lot of intense emotional stuff. Kim, my poor cp has been very patient with my constant emails of 'ignore that bit - I'll add it later or I'm going to change that'. It's a load off my mind to be told it's worked. So, yay for my backward editing process.Me, You and Him is going well too, I'm officially one third of the way through. A very good day! Oh, and to add to my day - I just found the cover to the Indonesian version of Blue Remembered heels!
The coffee crew are meeting for lunch today - yippee! Looking forward to a nice relaxing day. The last two weeks have been manic and tomorrow my jobshare partner and I have somehow managed to schedule four full on back to back meetings. We also have a huge report we're busy assembling. Me You and Him is progressing nicely, I'm a third of the way through and plan to get a huge chunk done this month - reports and the day job permitting. It's a bit eerie though - the book has a supernatural kind of element and while I was researching a few bits yesterday I found that subconciously I had included some interlinked stuff that I hadn't been aware of but which made the story so much more coherent and tighter. eg Walnut trees live for hundreds of years and Myrtle is supposed to only grow well if a woman plants it - in victorian times it was included in bridal wreaths and grown either side of the door it brings peace to the house. In my story the cottage is Myrtle Cottage and there is a walnut tree in the garden and the name of the cottage was changed in the victorian era - spooky huh?
I'm home at last and I don't have to go anywhere for a little while. Yay! Work trip to Bournemouth was good, nice hotel, good company, interesting speakers at the conference, presentation went well. Downsides, administrative cockups over the hotel payment, the train tickets, my job share partner was ill and it rained. Oh boy did it rain on Wednesday night. I did get to walk on the beach though and see the sea which always lifts my spirits and makes me feel happy. I wrote quite a few pages longhand on the train for Me, You and Him, so I need to typre those up and I really like this book :) Remind me of this when I reach the middle and am moaning and groaning about how rubbish it is. Now though I need to unpack, sort out all my notes and conference papers and just flake out somewhere for a few hours.
Tomorrow I'm off to Bournemouth with my jobshare partner for a two day Public Health conference. We're leaving at the crack of dawn armed with leaflets, handouts, copies of our schedule and all sorts of other stuff. It sounds like there are some great workshops and we're presenting one on the second day so a bit nervewracking! We're hoping for nice dry weather as we want to walk on the beach in the evening.
This past week has been a blur. The RNA's PR team at Midas, a lovely lady called Niamh, has been working her socks off. I've never done so many press interviews. I even got to talk live with Sophie Dahl on the Joanne Mallin breakfast show at BBC radio WM. Today I'm being photographed twice for various publications. This has meant trying to tidy up after three teenagers and a hubby with man flu! I also have to take the belles to the dentist after school and get shopping, write more on the book and pack for my day job trip to Bournemouth on Wednesday. To make matters worse my back isn't good at the moment. I suspect the standing in London has triggered the nerves in my lower spine off again so I'm dosed up on painkillers and antihistimines for the tree pollen that bugs me at this time of year. Red eyes, dopey expression - I've the perfect face for radio.
I think I'm just about coming back down to Earth after all the excitement. Mr Nell says he's going to become my PA as the phone hasn't stopped ringing and I'm still catching up with emails. When we called home from the awards to let our family know I'd won. My youngest belle, Miss La asked, 'what exactly did you get when you won?' I told her the trophy, the rosebowl for a year and a cheque. She then asked, 'is there enough for a dog?' Sigh, no, we aren't getting a dog. Much as I would like one, we aren't home enough to care for one properly. I think I may be getting more fish though. I also need to think about a new laptop as the belles have managed to break the hinge on mine and the letter S has fallen off. Considering I only paid £150 fror it from ebay over two years ago, it's done well. Now though, it's back to catching up with the laundry, writing a report for the day job, restocking the pantry and running the belles to dance, netball, cricket, morris dancing and sign language. Oh, and a small matter of writing a book - 75K to go by July - eek!
Full House! Me, trying not to cry, while I said thank you to everyone All the shortlisted Love Story of the Year authors with Katie Fforde Louise Allen with beautiful nails to match her necklace, and me. Here are some more pics - courtesy of Janet Gover and the RNA.
My agent, Darley Anderson celebrating with Love Story of the Year and Romantic Comedy of the Year! Janet Gover, Liz Fenwick and me With the Betty Neels Rosebowl and the award. Mr Nell and Me My editor Claire Baldwin, Me and my agent Maddie Buston To say I was and still am stunned is putting it mildly. The other shortlisted authors were all so good, I honestly didn't think for a moment that I stood a chance. We had to keep our speeches very short on the day and I was trying so hard not to cry I don't think I could have said much then, anyway. So, bear with me because I'm going to make up for it now. I want to thank the RNA and all the organisers, especially Janet Gover my fellow LBD author for a wonderful, wonderful day. It was a day I'll always remember. I want to thank my support teams, Mr Nell and the Belles who have to live with me. Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury, the coffee crew. My editor extraordinaire - Claire Baldwin, who works such magic on my books, and all the Headline team who give me fabulous covers and great support. My agent's Darley Anderson and Maddie Buston who are generous, kind and brilliant. My wonderful fellow romance authors who give me so much support and keep me going when the crows of doubt start to peck. And the biggest thank you goes to someone who I wish could have been there yesterday to enjoy the day with me - my fabulous cp and friend, Jessica Foote. Animal Instincts owes so much to her wonderful support. I wish every one of the shortlisted authors could have won - they all wrote fantastic, beautiful books. And now I've indulged myself - here are some pics!
The sun is shining, the sky is blue, I've taken antihisitimines as the tree pollen levels are rising. We're off to stay at Denham, eighteen miles from London ready for the lunch tomorrow. I'm hoping we can see a little of the area as it's a part of the world we don't know. If the site is good then we plan to take the belles later on and have a family day in London. I think I've remembered to pack everything in the caravan for tomorrow but if I show up with two odd shoes or minus my ear rings then you'll know I forgot something. I'm looking forward to seeing my writing friends and colleagues and meeting up with my agent and editor. Mr Nell is going too! The belles are most put out that they get to stay home with grandparents to look after the fish.
Last night I went to see my eldest two belles dance at a dance show at their high school. The belles do dance at weekends but this was something they had been doing on lunchtimes and after school for fun - street dance. The school had invited several of the local primary schools and a school for disabled children to take part too. The nicest thing about the Belle's school and one of the main reasons we were drawn to it as a choice was the inclusive spirit of the school. It's small by todays standards, less than 900 pupils. They have a considerable number of students from the hearing impaired unit and the pupils are from a wide variety of backgrounds. Unlike several other local schools they don't cherry pick their pupils on academic prowess. The atmosphere last night was wonderful. The pupils compered, managed the lights and curtains, sold tickets for Sports Relief and looked after their guests from other schools with minimal assistance from staff. The dance covered everything from Street, to Ballroom, to classical ballet, tap and hip hop. All the performers were great. The dancers ranged in age from year 4 primary up to age 16 school leavers. One performer was in a wheelchair, several had learning disabilities and some dancers were hearing impaired. I don't think there was a single person in the sell-out audience who didn't enjoy the show.
The new cover is up on Amazon today. It looks so pretty with the other covers!. I haven't heard my editor and my agents verdicts yet on what is going in between the covers so I'm hoping no news is good news, although I'm expecting some suggestions from my editor. She's very good at picking up exactly which bits I need to tweak. Yesterday was another busy day at the day job, a twelve hour stint as we're finishing off our research contract. It's been fascinating stuff and we're looking forward to sharing the report as hopefully it'll help improve services. I'm trying to pick up the pace on Me, You and Him. I finished one chapter at the weekend and I've almost completed another so I'm getting there. It's fun to write although I keep having to stop to look things up. Why did I decide to put a roundhead ghost in it? The only history we did at school was Henry the eight, the dinosaurs and Pete Marsh - a man preserved in a bog. I'm self taught for the rest so I have um, gaps.
I'm off to the hairdressers today in the hope that they can magically turn back the clock and make me look younger and prettier in time for next weeks awards lunch. Failing that my hair will just be shorter and blonder but hopefully I will no longer scare small children and folks of a nervous disposition with my unkempt appearance. Friday I'm getting my nails done. It's been ages since I had a manicure and my hands are terrible from the typing and working in the gardens. I told Mr Nell I was going to get a manicure and he said 'hope you don't break a nail then when we pull the caravan out.' Sigh, the glamour of an authors life!
Now Just Look at me Now is on my lovely editors desk, I've lots of things I'm looking forward to. The RNA lunch on the 16th - meeting my editor and agent and all my RNA friends. I am so excited to be going and even more excited that I'm shortlisted! All the books on the final lists are wonderful reads and so different that I'm heartily glad that I'm not a judge. I'm looking forward to exploring what to write next and enjoying working on Me, You and Him, my speculative project in the meanwhile. I can't wait to take the caravan to Denham so we'll have a home from home to escape to away from the madness that is London. I'd love to try and fit in a visit to Cliveden while we're away as I understand it's not too far away. I'm also going to have lunch with two of my favourite writerly friends before the end of the month. In the day job I've the UKPHA conference at Bournemouth to enjoy. My jobshare and I are going for both days and our abstract was accepted for presentation so we're going to be presenting too - yippee! What is everyone else looking forward to this month?
Long day at the day job today as my job share partner and I spent the early part of the evening on a pub crawl. It was all in the aid of research as we had been asked to go and talk to men about health and physical activity so we dutifully took ourselves to some local watering holes and chatted up men. I like my job :) In other news, Just Look at Me Now has winged it's way to my editor so I'll wait for her verdict to see if she likes the book wot I have wrote - to misquote the lovely Ernie Wise. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I promise I'll share my gorgeous cover soon too.
I've been trying to catch up on all the things I don't do when I'm on a deadline. You know like shop, clean, put away laundry - sigh.My bedroom is now dustfree and dejunked so there's a start. I need to catch up on my accounts paperwork and then I can tackle the office. Today though I had to deal with the pressing issue of buying undergarments for under the frock I plan to wear to the awards lunch. Clothes shopping is so depressing when you aren't a skinny person. I managed to find a flesh coloured bra (in case the straps show) and because it's a frock I bought tights. I hate tights - if I manage to get them on without making a hole and get to London without destroying them it will be a miracle. There is a reason why I always wear trousers. I haven't heard back on Just Look at Me Now yet from my agent but my editor has sent me the beautimous cover for it today which I'll share with you as soon as I can. It's fab - very, very girly and lovely. It cheered me up after my discovery that my bra size is roughly the same as my head size.
Nell is an award winning author living in the heart of the Black Country with her husband, three children, a tank of tropical fish, a crazy Cockerpoo called Teddy and whatever is left of her sanity. Welcome to her world...