Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bank hol, and where's the sun?

The Belles are in the Isle of Wight with their grandparents for the week. I have the joyful task of cleaning out their rooms before they come home and preparing for this open day party at the day job on Saturday. Did I mention I have this book to write too? Plus, Mr Nell is making me go to Derbyshire for a few days in the tourer. Something about me needing time off.
I've now cleared a path so I can walk into the eldest and middle belles rooms. I haven't even attempted Miss La's room yet. So far I've retrieved 14 glasses and 4 mugs. Their bathroom is now all scrubbed and shiny and the mats washed and toothpaste and makeup splatters gone from the mirror. I've done three loads of washing and filled one and a half bin bags with rubbish. The joy of teenagers!

Friday, May 28, 2010

School end

My eldest DD left school yesterday, sniff, where did the time go to? She's back in again this morning though for her physics GCSE exam. Last night I was at the school until after nine with Miss La for her parents evening. It's always an interesting experience hearing teachers describing a child you don't recognise - I think there are implants in the school gateposts that transform their personalities as they pass in and out. I have a summer cold that's driving me crazy as my ears are stopped up which makes my jaw ache.
I took my Mum to listen to Anna Jacobs talking at one of our local libraries - we had a great time. Dudley Library staff are fab and really try hard to put on great events with a virtually non existant budget. Their hard work is much appreciated.
The day job is crazy - I've given up trying to take any time back or even keep to my hours. I had three different staff members ask me yesterday if I'd gone full time! Oh well, it'll settle down in a couple of weeks and they've said I can be paid for some of the time so thats all good.
I need to pack the girls things for their holiday with their grandparents then I have to go order enough cake to feed 200 people, buy 150 tombola prizes and 70 lucky dip prizes. Then I need to write another one and a half chapters if I'm to stay on my schedule to finish this first draft of Me, You and Him by the end of June.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunny Monday

Spent yesterday baking on a cricket field in Worcester watching Miss La in her first cricket tournament. I seem to have missed a patch of skin on my ankle with the sun cream so have a bright purpley red square there now.
I did manage to get another chapter finished of Me, You and Him so aprox nine chapters and twenty K'ish of this first draft to go. My plan is to finish it by end of June and then have July to edit/adit it into shape. I already know some bits that need a tweak - that will probably add another ten to fifteen K.
Finished doing the proofs for Just look at Me Now and those are winging their way back to LBD.
Today is errand day so off to the post office, then to get grocery, more laundry to do,must return a shirt to M&S - so sad about it - it was a lovely tunic top which would have been perfect for the conference but while the top bit fits beautifully, it's the same width all the way down so I look like a sausage. Ah well.
This week am taking my Mum to see Anna Jacobs at her library talk on Wednesday at Halesowen. Mum is a huge fan so she's very excited. Thursday it's Miss La's parents evening and then Friday I have to pack for the belles as they're off to the Isle of Wight for a week with their grandparents. Hopefully then I can deep clean the house and write tons on Me, You and Him. I can tell I'm nearing the end of this story - I have another one nibbling at my brain.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Any Spanish readers?

I have several very beautiful copies of Blue Remembered Heels in Spanish. It's the most gorgeous softback book and looks fantastic. If anyone out there would like a copy please give me a shout and I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Authorly pics

My new author pic done by Jacqueline Williams photography. Hopefully my web man will get my old one replaced on my website soon. I've lots more lovely pics that she's taken but I thought I'd go for serious.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday already?

I seem to be losing days. I blame the Hadron collider or the new Dr Who, well, someone has to be responsible. Tomorrow is a very important day. At least this is what Miss La keeps telling me, something about it being her birthday and she'll be twelve. She's now taller than both her sisters, much to my eldest dd's disgust. Her birthday present request list is almost as tall as she is so I fear she's doomed to disappointment no matter what she gets.
The day job is still crazy busy and the uncertainty over funding is an ongoing issue. Still we'll keep plugging away and hope for the best. Me, You and Him is coming along nicely and I'm expecting the proofs to land for Just Look at Me Now any time soon. I love seeing proofs and seeing the book set out as it's going to be. Welcome to all my new Indonesian and Spanish visitors who've been popping by here lately. I'm looking forward to the German release of Blue Remembered Heels in a month or so.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blue Remembered Heels - in Spanish!


Monday catch up

The writing workshop was great fun. We had a really good turn out and there's no nicer way to spend a few hours than in the company of other writers. After all the hectic excitement of the last few days it's back to the book. I'm moving into the last third of the story now and have just lobbed a lovely sexy emotional handgrenade at my heroine. Did I mention I love this story? I keep having to pause and research stuff though as I'm one of those writers who has to have everything straight in my head before I can move on. A lot of what I need to know, the reader will never see but without it being there and being right the story won't ring true.
This book is a lovely mash-up of boybands, ghosts, conmen, The Osmonds, the english civil war and house renovation. This part is were it gets tricky as I have a lot of balls in the air and I now need to gradually catch each one and make sure I've put it away safely.
In other news, it's my youngest belle's birthday on Thursday - she'll be 12 and is playing her first proper cicket tournament on Sunday against Worcester so I'll be taking a picnic and her sisters along to cheer her on. I'll also need to take a book for sneaky reading - I really, really don't do sport. Miss La won't mind, Mr Nell will be cheering loudly enough for all of us.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wombourne Writers workshop

Setting the Scene - 2pm to 4pm today tickets £1 on the door of Wombourne Library, refreshments included. Me, Phillipa Ashley and historical novelist Elizabeth Hanbury will be talking about how we each use our research to make scenes come alive for readers. There will be some simple fun writing exercises, lots of fun, useful tips and for any GCSE English students we will be talking a little bit about persuasive language.
Come along and say hello - we'd love to see you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

RNA summer party

The Coffee Crew, aka Elizabeth Hanbury, Phillipa Ashley and me, hit London yesterday for the RNA summer party. We had a lovely journey down with a whole carriage to ourselves on the train which was probably as well considering some of our topics of conversation. We then headed for House of Fraser where we indulged ourselves looking at shoes, pretty and expensive clothes followed by tea in the Cafe Nero there. That in itself was an interesting experience as we witnessed the most appalling, unprofessional behaviour from a young lady from the Benefits make up concession who decided it would be good to discipline/bully a junior member of her staff on the table next to us. All three of us were shocked by the conversation and the intimidatory me, me,me attitude that wouldn't listen to the poor employee. We all wanted to lean over and tell the girl to tell Miss Bossy where to shove her job.
We then comandeered the ladies powder room while we changed in true superwoman style into our glam gear.
A short taxi ride across London later we were at the party where we had a brilliant time. A lot of agents and editors weren't there - my own agent was away on business, and there were two publishing parties on elsewhere. This turned out to be no problem at all though as it meant the writers really got chance to chat and let their hair down and I think the New writers probably got just as much, if not more, out of it.
At nine fifteen we sprinted back across London to catch the 'Night Rider' back home, Sadly there was no sign of Kit or David Hasselhoff on board - just three drunks in another carriage. It was a fabulous day out and we caught up with a lot of friends and made some new ones.
Today though it's back to work planning the workshop for Tomorrow at Wombourne Library 2-4

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

All change

So we have a new Prime Minister with Nick Clegg acting as bridesmaid in the old John Prescott role. At least we have some certainty now even if there are still a lot of steps to come. Whoever would have been successful would have had to make really hard decisions and there will have to be cuts to get us out of the mess we're in. We'll just have to see what and where.
I'm looking forward to the RNA summer party tomorrow and doing the Setting the Scene workshop at Wombourne library on Saturday. Both events are with two of my favourite writerly people and I know we're going to have fun.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Today is the 10th anniversary of the health walks programme in Sandwell so today I walked around Sandwell Valley with the rest of the walk leaders. We then had cake with the mayor to celebrate. I suspect I will pay for the walking tomorrow especially as it's our own Urban trail walk tomorrow around the back streets of smethwick. Although we've turned our urban trail walk into an opportunity for a spot of guerrila gardening en route in an attempt to beautify the neighbourhood, wildflower seed sowing on derelict land. If I'm limping heavily by Thursday at the RNA summer party you'll know why!
I've been busy researching burials, churchyards, parish records and all sorts of other fascinating things for Me, You and Him ready to crack on with the next few chapters. Now I just need to get myself on a proper ghosthunt...

Sunday, May 09, 2010


I'm back from my weekend of being photographed by the lovely Jacqui. I'll share some pics with you when she's finished making me look human. I've been busy researching too this weekend, mainly doing yet more reading up on the English civil war and prowling around ancient churches looking at ye olde worlde tombstones. Most of which were very mossy and crumbly and hard to read.This should be useful when I'm writing the next chapter of Me, You and Him which takes place in a churchyard with ye olde mouldy tombstones. Remind me to write about something more glamerous and less tricky next tiem.

Friday, May 07, 2010


So, I'm off again. This time it's not too far away and just for a couple of days. Tewkesbury this time, more research and also to get some author pictures taken by a real bona fide photographer. Hopefully this will avoid any more embarresing incidents where my agent, publishers etc ask for a picture of me and I produce one which shows me with a flower growing out of my ear. My lovely fellow author, Cally Taylor, who has some gorgeous pics recomended me to her cousin Jacqui - the photographer responsible for her nice pictures and she's kindly agreed to help me. I almost missed the announcement that Animal Instincts had won Love Story of The Year because I was too busy cringing at the picture they used on the large screen at the awards. Everyone else had a beautiful professional authorly portrait. I had a snap taken at a book signing in Waterstones - sigh.
In more writerly news, I'm so looking forward to the RNA summer party. Me, You and Him is going well, I'm at 52k now and on target for my deadline. I love, love, love this book. Not sure if this is a good sign as I'm completely rubbish at judging my own work as you know. My cp has given me the thumbs up and my agent loves the bit she's seen so fingers crossed.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Somebody say there was an election?

I know they all seem to be as bad as one another, I know you are all sick of hearing about Nick Clegg's choice of tie or what Gordon had for breakfast and David and Sam's babeee but please go vote. I don't care much who you vote for or why you voted for them, just exercise that precious right that people fight and die for. Don't waste it. Just put an X in a box. If, when all the fuss dies down and you don't get who you voted for or even if you do, at least you did your bit. It's important.
Go Vote

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Back home to the washing, shopping and a list of errands that need running for the Belles. It had been quite a few years since Mr Nell and I were last in Jersey - Miss Boo was a baby when were there before - so we were keen to see what had changed and if we had remembered things.
We stayed at Les Charrieres Country Hotel.

This proved to be a good choice. The indoor pool and jacuzzi was lovely, the staff were wonderful and the food absolutely the best we'd had in a hotel for years. The rooms were immaculately clean if a little dated, but everything worked and there was plenty of hot water. The only snag was the terrible mattress on the bed - it felt as if you were sleeping on a giant blancmange - and they still had blankets not quilts.
Jersey itself is still pretty, with beautiful scenary and just as badly signed as we remembered. (They took the signs down in the war and never really got around to putting all of them back) It was a little sad to see that many of the beautiful pubs we'd remembered had been turned into private houses or businesses eg The Windmill and at Corbiere. In fact the Island gave the impression that tourism was in a bad way there. The Portugeuese workers and hoteliers had gone and most of the staff in the various places and running the stores were now Polish. There was even a Polish channel on TV.
We went to Jersey boat show so Mr Nell could look at pointy boats and that was great fun. Highlight of our holiday was a trip to La Mares vineyard. This was excellent and I'd recommend any visitor to go there.
Downsides was St Helier's shops not opening on the Monday despite it being a tourist town and many people had clearly gone there for shopping. Only the multinationals and the department stores were open and there were loads of people who were muttering. I can't imagine any other major tourist town anywhere in the UK not bothering to open. Interestingly when we came home it was reported that our local shopping centre - Merry Hill - fourth largest in the UK had taken even more money than at Christmas that day.
We still had a lovely time and I still like Jersey, I'd recommend the hotel if you want great food, good service and clean, basic accomodation.
It was nice to be home though especially with the threat of the volcanic ashcloud starting up again.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Mr Nell and I just got home from Jersey after an interesting weekend away. Today is our silver wedding anniversary - thanks to everyone who has left messages, emailed and sent cards, it was lovely to have some many messages. I'll be back tomorrow - hopefully with some pictures of the weekend and what we did on Jersey!