Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday moaning

Either it's the damp miserable weather or I really am turning into a grumpy old woman. Random irritations on a wet morning:
False eyelashes - I mean really, why do you think anyone would glue something that looks like two spidery toupees for a bald man to their face to go and work in a bank? Most disconcerting for the customer on the other side of the counter especially when coupled with orange fake tan and the false nails.
Queues - everytime - Dear Halifax - you need more staff and why do the machines never, ever work?
Drivers with no lights - You are in a black car, it's dark, it's raining, please put your lights on.
TV in the bank - Dear Lloyds, I don't want to watch the Labour party conference whilst in your queue. I shouldn't be there long enough to watch TV. And I don't care who won the leadership contest - the ship is sinking I don't care who is on deck. (Disclaimer, in the interests of equality there are other political parties, and no, I don't want to watch them either)
Heart radio - For the love of Mike please change the playlist - I can only stand so much Lady Gaga, Michael Buble and Alicia 'New York' Keyes before I lose the will to live.
What minor stuff is irritating you at the moment?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Peaceful Sundays

I hope everyone is having a peaceful day. Mine is rather noisy. My neighbours have some people in to relay their patio. Unfortunately my office is at the back of the house so inevitably I have the merry sound of the grinder, the slab cutter, tuneless whistling and football commentary coming from their radio.
I really hope they finish it today. I can't concentrate when there's extraneous outside noise. I've been trying to drown them out by compiling my playlist for the new ms in progress. So far I've got:
Sweet about me - Gabriella Cilimi
Radio Nowhere - Bruce springsteen
It must be Love - Madness
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Upside Down - Paloma Faith
Gotta be somebody - Nickelback
Only the good die young - Billy Joel
What about Love - Heart

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whatya reading?

I've been on a bit of a reading spree lately, some nice M&B's by Penny Jordan and Roger Sanderson. The Beach hut by Veronica Henry, A selection of short stories by Maeve Binchy, a nice group of historical short stories by Elizabeth Hanbury. Next up is a debbie Macomber followed by a real treasure - I managed to get one of the forerunner series by Andre Norton for my collection - and it was one I haven't read before! I'm also waiting for Amazon to bring me the new Jenny Crusie book.
How about you? What are you reading? Any good recomends?
Ps I like happy endings, no horror or misery lit, don't care for vampires werewolves or stuff like thet.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just Look at Me Now

This afternoon I turned on the computer and found a review which actually made me cry. Happy tears, not upset ones. I always value the reviews from as Julie is a thoughtful and experienced reviewer. I'd been worried about this book as it was in third person rather than first person and is probably the most chick-litty and tongue in cheek of all my books.
Julie gave it 5 stars and said: 'I polished off Nell Dixon’s irresistible new novel in a single sitting! Fabulously readable, highly engaging and immensely enjoyable, I was hooked from the very first page and didn’t stop reading until I reached the satisfying conclusion!'
Then she added the bit that made me cry:
'With a wonderful heroine, a drop dead gorgeous hero, an enchanting cast of supporting characters, laugh out loud comedy, moving pathos and non-stop action, Just Look at Me Now is another winner from an outstanding storyteller who always leaves her readers with big smiles on their faces, eagerly awaiting the next rip-roaring romantic comedy from her very talented pen!'
I owe a huge debt on this book to Charlotte Maclain from Romance Diva's who gave me a wonderful insight into the world of magazines and also an even huger one to my CP, Kimberley Menozzi who has her own fabulous women's fiction book, 'Ask Me If I'm Happy', coming out in November from Diiarts books.
You can read the rest of Julie's review HERE

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Autumn is definitely in the air, the mornings are cooler, the evenings darker and the spiders invading my house are larger and hairier. My greenhouse is full of lovely little cherry tomatoes and the patio pots of large tomatoes and peppers need harvesting. Our birdtable looks like Heathrow for Bluetits and the squirrel is back in the corkscrew hazel helping himself to the cobnuts.
Looking towards the barrow from my office window there are subtle changes in the leaves on the trees. I love this time of year, especially ondays like today when the sky is blue and the sun is shining with just a hint of crisper, cooler air.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And breathe out...

Life finally seems to be settling down a little here in the Nell household. My Mum was given the all clear after her recent cancer surgery, my eldest dd is loving her new college and the other belles are back at school. Mr Nell's job is secure again for the moment and, fingers firmly crossed, no more major appliances or vehicles are about to die on me.
My job is still uncertain as we are dependeant on our funders so just keep thinking good thoughts for our projects and, should you know of anyone who would like to help sponsor a really worthwhile project with a terrific track record for helping people then give me a shout.
I'm slowly settling back down to working on my new writing project. I've one and a half chapters down so far and hopefully now life is steadying up a bit I might get some more chapters down before halfterm and the start of the preChristmas chaos. I've seen my calendar pages for November and December and they are scary now even without any extras being added in.
So, how about you? How is your new term going?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The book signing, silent auction, raffle, sale etc to raise funds for Malthouse and Salop Drive therapeutic gardens is tonight - 6-8.30pm
Hope some of you can make it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Book signing and auction

If any of you are in the Midlands on Tuesday 14th September then you're very welcome to come along to Malthouse Garden, next to the Independent Living Centre, 100 Oldbury Road Smethwick B66 1JE between 6 and 8.30pm. I'll be signing copies of Just Look at Me Now and reading excerpts and you can ask me all kinds of questions.
In addition you can bid in our silent auction to win one of the following signed by the author books!
1. Honey Trap by Julie Cohen – Paperback RRP £5.99 – Julie is a Holt medal award winner, this is a smart funny tale involving rock bands and honey traps.
2. A Most Lamentable Comedy - Janet Mullaney – Paperback RRP £5.99 – Janet is famous for her regency romps and this is chick lit with a difference.
3. Girl Racers – Janet Gover – Paperback RRP £6.99 – Janet writes fast paced stories set in her homeland of Australia.
4. A Wedding at Leopard tree lodge – Liz Fielding – hardback RRP £13.99 – Liz is one of the most famous and best loved of the Mills and Boon romance authors and this lovely story won’t disappoint.
5. Dangerous Waters – Jane Jackson – Hardback RRP £18.99 – Privateers and slave revolts in regency times.
6. Devil’s Prize – Jane Jackson – Hardback RRP £18.99 – Cornish smugglers in the 18th century, love and danger.
7. It Should Have Been Me – Phillipa Ashley – Paperback RRP £5.99 – Phillipa’s book Decent Exposure is now filmed as the Twelve Men of Christmas and this story for the Joan Hessayon award winning writer is guaranteed to brighten up your reading.
8. The Wise Woman’s Tale – Phillipa Bowers – Paperback RRP £6.99 – Young adult magic and realism combine in an enchanting historical novel.
9. Rainbow’s End – Eileen Ramsay – Hardback RRP £18.99 – Well loved best selling novelist Eileen delivers a tragic and beautiful romantic tale.
10. Another Woman’s Husband – Sarah Duncan – Hardback RRP £19.99 – Another cracking story by one of today’s best selling contemporary writers.
11. Stage by Stage – Jan Jones – Paperback RRP £7.99 – A warm and witty tale of life in a theatrical boarding house.
12. A Old-fashioned Arrangement – Susie Vereker – Paperback RRP £7.99 – Set in Geneva an ordinary woman faces an extraordinary dilemma.
13. Hardback by Elizabeth Hanbury – details coming soon
Huge Thanks to all of the authors who have generously donated their work. There'll be a raffle, lovely handcrafted cards for sale, some second hand books and of course some plants.
Monies raised are going to Ideal For All's Growing Opportunities programme which is a project for disabled people. It promotes health through horticulture and we need new tools, benches and to replace some of our older shrubs within the gardens.
If you didn't see it, there is a fab review of Just Look at Me Now and an interview with me over at Trashionista.Here
The reviewer said,'Just Look at Me Now is a fantastic read... ...This is yet another wonderful gem from Little Black Dress with a great plot and great characters.' 5/5!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Summer's end

The eldest belle is off to college for her first full week. The other two belles go back to school on Wednesday and I go back to the day job tomorrow. At least I feel better this week and I'm itching to get stuck into the mega pile of work that I know will be on my desk.
Yesterday was my Dad's birthday so despite the drizzle we had a nice barbeque at home. Today already feels as if the season is changing, the Magnolia at the end of the garden is swooshing and swaying in the breeze, the Magpies are chacking at each other from the gutter above my office window and the sky is that pale grey blue which tells you there is a chill in the air.
I have half a chapter done on my new project - hopefully I'll get that done and maybe a synopsis later this week once the day job days are out of the way - have a feeling I'll be too tired to think straight when I get home from work.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Random stuff

Having three teenage girls home for six weeks certainly makes life interesting - here's a few random comments overheard over the past few weeks with no attribution in order to protect the guilty.
'I have two baguettes and I plan to eat them both just because I can'
'OMG if you lick my arm one more time'
'I smelt your hair and touched your feet, there is no way I plan to sniff your socks'
'Stratford upon Avon is near Cornwall, isn't it?'

Friday, September 03, 2010

A question of Faith

Regular readers know that I don't often discuss politics or religion here. This last week however there have been two things which have disturbed me deeply on a personal level. The first was during Ultimate Big Brother - yeah I know - and John Mc's diatribe to Makosi dismissing the existence of God. Then, today, This article appeared on my screen.
There has always been a clash between those who have to have scientific proof, hard facts and the evidence of their own ears and eyes before they can believe in something. Yet, the ground of religious belief is Faith. A faith that can withstand doubt and which places trust in that, clever as man may be, we are not all that is within the the universe. Not just this universe but others which may be far beyond our sight, comprehension or imagination. How arrogant are we that we can say this is all coincidence? Chance? A fluke?
We are but little specks in something huge, infinite and timeless. Everyday, all around if we care to look there are miracles, things which can never be explained or dismissed by science, medicine or rationality.
Every day when I look into the faces of my children I see evidence of God's grace.
This post is not to start a discussion or to provide a platform for those people who have different beliefs to mine. You are welcome to your beliefs, I do not seek to convert anyone to my way of thinking. This is simply something I felt strongly that I had to say, to redress the balance maybe. A question of Faith.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Down by the station...

Eldest dd has gone to catch her train for her induction day. She starts full time at sixth form on Monday. The other two belles don't return to school till Wednesday morning. Youngest belle is still in France. I feel better today than I've done in ages despite the stopped up sinuses and the deafness. I know I feel better because I'm itching to get back to work - or maybe that means I'm not better and it's the fever talking lol.
This virus has been very odd but I can feel my energy coming back. Hopefully the chaos that's been my life for the first part of this year will settle down too and I can have a few months of calm before Christmas and all that madness hits.