Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring out the old...

The end of the year already and the end of a decade.This last year seems to have gone by so quickly I think I blinked somewhere and missed three months. This year we lost two family members, and my much loved Clown loaches. On the good side, we're all fairly fit and healthy. Mr Nell's Rheumatoid arthritis remains under control, my hip is managable and the belles are well and happy. Prospects look promising for my job contract being extended for another year (fingers crossed).
Writing wise I saw the release of Animal Instincts and His Darling Nurse. Plus, the thrill of seeing a short story in Loves Me, Loves Me Not. That was so exciting and I guess meant that I'd kind of achieved my ambition of having something published by Harlequin after all lol.
On the whole then not a bad year - I'm doing two jobs that I love - I have wonderful friends, writerly and non-writerly, a supportive family, my mobility is the best it's been for four years or so and next year I have so much to look forward to.
Wishing all my visitors here a very Happy and healthy New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No snow show

The promised snow mountain never appeared although it is horrid and wet. It keeps trying to snow so we may yet get some. I made it in to work and started the annual office clean up. The boards are done, most of the shelves are at least free of some of the rubbish, next task is the stuff we keep pushing under the desks hoping the dust bunnies will carry it away.
I really need to do the same with my office here. I think when I finish Just Look at Me Now that'll be my next task. For now though I'm wearing my fluffy Christmas socks, snuggling into my chair and cracking on with the writing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sale shopping

We braved Merry Hell today to do some sale shopping. A new suit for Mr Nell, new work shoes and PJ's for me. An ipod cover for Miss La and a top and a new bag for Miss Boo. Appararently heavy snow is forcast for tonight and I'm supposed to be back in work tomorrow and Thursday - hmm, guess I'll have to see what it's like in the morning. Fortunately I'd planned to do two short days - mostly cleaning up the office and getting everything ready for the New Year as we're going to be super busy. If I can't get in I'm owed lots of time still anyway. I suppose I can get more writing done. I've nine and a half chapters to go roughly on Just Look at Me Now before the first draft is done and the really hard work of making it make sense starts.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How was it for you?

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and Boxing day? We had a fab time. The belles thought Santa did a great job this year as they all got things they really wanted. Some of them small like a Sylvanian family item for Miss La and some a bit larger like a camera for Miss Boo. The hit present appears to be a shared one which was Raving Rabbids go shopping for the Wii. This is fab fun, totally bonkers and as hilarious to watch as it is to play. A cartoon bunny wearing a thong and getting a spray tan? fab.
We spent lots of time with family just eating, drinking, pulling crackers and chatting.I got some of my favourite perfume and a gift voucher from Mr Nell and some yummy chocolate from Hotel Chocolate. I got some fab things from the belles and lots of my fave presents - socks!
So, what did you all get? Was it what you wanted or did you get some surprises?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa Claus is coming to town

Last night we went to the pantomime to see the wonderful Joe Pasquale and Ray Quinn in Sleeping Beauty. The special effects were as always breathtaking, the dame had the best costumes I'd seen since we saw the late, great Danny La Rue and as always the bits where things went wrong were hilarious.
At the moment I have frozen meats thawing in the kitchen, Mr Nell has gone to the farm shop to collect the fruit and veg and I've fresh baked bread sending lovely aromas around the kitchen. Later the eldest belle is helping me make cauliflower cheese and prepare pigs in blankets for tomorrow and Mr Nell has threatened er promised to make sausage rolls.
This evening we're off to Chapel for the Christingle service and supper with family then home to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol before the big man arrives down the chimney.
Wishing all of my friends, readers, fellow authors and anyone who regularly follows this blog a Happy and Joyful Christmastime whatever your celebration may be. Take care in the ice, remember to be nice and if you are naughty don't get caught!
Love Nell, Mr Nell and the belles XXX

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Writerly advice

I was delighted to be asked a while back to add a snippet to a book for writers. The author is the fabulous Sue Moorcroft and the book is called Love Writing: How to make moneywriting Romantic or Erotic Fiction. It's now on sale so to grab your copy goHERE You won't regret it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

In stock

Amazon is showing Crystal Clear as being in stock!
I guess I should get a move on with writing Just Look at Me Now as it looks as if some lovely, lovely readers have already placed orders. Pressure? what pressure?? lol

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dashing through the snow...

Well, I don't dash anywhere these days but we did get snow last night. Luckily my friend made it to my house this morning and we had a lovely catch up. Hopefully it won't be as long before we do it again. I've just a few parcels left to deliver now and a couple of cards. Fruit and veg are ordered from the farm shop for the big day so that will just leave bread to get and a couple of bitty things - other than that I'm pretty well set I think. On Wednesday we're going en famille to the Hippodrome in Brum to see Sleeping Beauty with Ray Quinn and Joe Pasquale. I don't know who is more excited, the belles or Mr Nell's Mum as she has a bit of a thing for Ray.
Then Christmas Eve it's the Christingle at Chapel and home to watch A Muppet's Christmas Carol. Although I am very, very disappointed with the DVD version as they've cut the scene that is in the original film where Scrooge and his old love sing the most beautiful song. Bah Humbug on Disney for doing that as it spoils the film. GO HERE and watch it

Friday, December 18, 2009

Home for the holiday

I'm off from the day job now till after Christmas so hopefully I'll be able to catch up on my writing deadlines in between the festivities and Christmas preparations. I'm almost into the final third of Just Look at me now and I've a good idea what I need to rewrite in the first third to make the book much stronger. Not as much as I'd first feared - just the realisation that I'd revealed some information too early and that it weakened the plot. I'm also hoping to tackle a nice big chunk of You, Me and Him.
I've the final lot of cleaning and tidying to do in the house - cleaning out the family room and the belles bedrooms. I've also got all my local cards and parcels to deliver to various destinations. I'm hoping to do some nice things with the belles too and see some of my oldest friends. Of course if we get snow then I'll be in front of the fire watching old films on the telly!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Cinderella Substitute - audio book

Coming in March/April next year from AudioLark the audio version of The Cinderella Substitute. I am such a lucky girl when it comes to covers!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tree is up

Just the garland on the fireplace to do and the lights. Then of course we need to dig out the family room so people can actually get in there, deliver the rest of our cards and parcels and we're all set. Yesterday was lovely actually. The belles and I decorated the tree while Mr Nell was at work, got more cleaning jobs done, cooked a delicious roast pork dinner and sat and watched Elf. I love that film, Will Ferrell is hilarious in it and you always feel so Christmassy. We then watched Delia's Christmas and Christmas at the victorian farm - lovely!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gearing up

I'm getting ready for another mad weekend and week. Next week is another four day week at the day job and I've tons of things I want to get done. At home the tree still isn't up or the house anywhere near ready. I have wrapped all my presents and I need to do one more post office run for the last couple of things. My main shop is done and I just need to do my fruit and veg order for Christmas and take it to my friends farm shop. I also want to write at least three more chapters on Just Look at Me Now to keep me on my schedule - this is by the end of the month - even I'm not that mad! and if I can get another couple of chapters done on my other story that will be fab too. I've just completed the cover art form for the audio book version of The Cinderella Substitute and it's pencilled in for release on April 1st. I'm not sure when the site is launching - I'll let you know as soon as I find out. Very exciting though. Also many thanks to those of you who bought a copy of His darling Nurse and told me how much you like it. Hugs to all of you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day job fun

Regular readers here will know I have a really cool day job which lets me do all kinds of fab and fun stuff. Today My jobshare partner and I were out and about talking to the public again about physical activity. We talked to staff at a huge Tesco and also the lovely people at Ikea. Both stores were brilliant, with friendly helpful staff and everyone talked to us. I'm just really tired now and I've learned so much. I also miss my old colleagues from when I worked at Asda - sniff!
To top off my nice day I got a lovely email from my agent to say she loves You, Me and Him!!! So I'd better get a shake on with writing both my books.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Crystal Clear

My copy arrived today - an early Christmas prezzy from my lovely editor - so nice to see my book baby in print. Not long till it's out in the big wide world!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Shopping day

Today is my big shop day - I save all year on an Asda card and Mr Nell and I go off today to buy the essentials for Christmas - you know like Turkey. I also get some bits and pieces for a few parcels although most of my buying is done - I just have to do the wrapping. I have a wreath on the front door but that's as far as I've got with decorating the house. I still feel lousy with this head/sinus thing. Last night I hardly slept as I kept feeling as if my ear was running even though it wasn't. Two of the belles have parties tonight so Mom's taxi will be in full swing and then I'm back at work so if they aren't careful the wreath will be all the decorating I'm doing.
In other news Happy Birthday to my mil!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Jungle fever

Well, Captain Bertorelli won I'm a celebrity get me out of here and so my TV viewing draws to a halt. I'm just glad that ghastly monster with the oversized boobs and ego didn't win - no not Katie Price - Kim Woodburn! Gino was definitely for me and the belles the outright champion from early on although we did love George.
Yesterday I had my first day off sick in two years. I still feel pretty rubbish today, my ears and sinuses feel blocked and I have an irritating cough. My gloom was lifted slightly by news of the sale of The Cinderella Substitute to an audio book company. It's a little start up venture I think but they seem professional and I didn't plan on doing anything else with the story so if it goes well I may offer them some of my other out of print novellas as they seem to be looking for sweeter stories.
I'm also trying to think of a venue for a book launch for Crystal Clear in Jan/Feb time. So if anyone has any good ideas let me know!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Lies have pretty legs

Well, thats what Babelfish has said the translation is of Blue Remembered Heels in German! The cover popped up today on Amazon and it says it'll be out in Germany in July next year. The cover is lovely but the shoes are red?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Is it me?

So today, one of the large envelopes that I posted yesterday, stamped with an airmail sticker and clearly addressed in large letters on the front to go to CANADA arrived back at my house! Sigh
Tonight was the Christmas Party at my local writers group, it's always a joy to spend time with so many talented and lovely people and tonight was great fun. We performed a pantomime, read some flash fiction and generally had a lovely lot of nibbles and drinks.
I think I may be able to work around the bump in the road I hit with Just Look at Me Now - I still need to rewrite big chunks but less than I thought and I think I can knock it into shape when it's done. I do like the story - it makes me smile when I'm writing it so I hope readers will feel the same.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Newsflash - Christmas is comiing

Argh, I am so not ready, I wrote loads of cards last night, thought I was almost done and then discovered I need to do loads more. I must go to the post office tomorrow to post the bookmarks for a Christmas exchange that I do every year. I have wrapped the grand total of five gifts and two of those are books for the book swap at my writers group on Wednesday. I haven't planned any of my grocery shop or ordered my fruit and veg at the farm shop yet either and I'm working extra days at the day job so have less time, To make matters worse, my cloakroom is still not finished so the house is still upside down and I've realised I need to do a major rewrite on Just Look at Me Now if the book is going to work! I'd go drink some wine but I haven't sorted that out yet either!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mixed blessings

Happy Thanksgiving for yesterday to all my American friends and I thinks it's Eid for my Muslim friends today - lots of celebrating. Here it's up and down .
Eldest dd has lost her phone - downer - teenagers are umbilically attached to their mobiles so shes devastated at the moment.
Found some tiles to match our existing ones in the cloakroom so we don't have to fetch all the tiles off - Yay!
My angel fish is very poorly - I swear that fish has fits, most peculiar - so I think I'm going to lose her - downer
Middle dd is through to second round of cooking contest - Yay - sort of because guess who has to get all the ingredients, balance her budget and time her while tasting her test cooking?
Tomorrow I'm taking her for her 13th birthday treat - to see the Take That musical Never Forget at the Grand - Yay!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


During the launch week for His Darling Nurse I popped to London to have lunch with my agent and to attend the launch party for the fabulous Loves Me, Loves Me Not anthology. This all sounds very lovely and authorly doesn't it? and when I used to read things like this on other people's blogs I used to sigh and think how nice. I don't go to London often - I think that was probably only the nineth time I've ever gone there so tootling around the capital on my own was quite an adventure. I think my agent was a bit concerned when she realised I didn't have any clue where anywhere was and just intended to amble my way around. In practice it was fine, I mooched around Covent Garden looking at the overpriced and pretty merchandise. I had coffee and cookies in a nice cafe and ambled along to Neals Yard, Leicester Square and the Strand before flagging down a cab to take me to the launch party at the Guards and Cavalry club in Piccadilly. My knowledge of the Monopoly board wasn't really much good as an aid to navigation but it did make it more fun!
The club was very olde colonial with lots of silverware, portraits of moustachioed persons in uniform and stuffed heads of long dead animals. Unfortunately for me it also had lots of stairs and no lift so I was really suffering by this point so probably wasn't as chatty and in the flow of things as usual.
The pic is of all the authors on the stairs. I'm tucked in the corner on the left carrying my bag a la Mrs T because I was trying to balance my wine glass.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

His Darling Nurse - final winner

Congratulations to Janet - you win a download of His Darling Nurse and if by any chance you already have a copy then let me know and I'll work you out something else. (Let me know your email addy)
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to join in the fun - it was much appreciated. Now I have to get back to writing Just Look at Me Now, today though I have a poorly child at home, my youngest belle feels ill - most unusual for her. So, I need to get fuel, go to work and collect my stuff then I can work from home today.
I've started to get my Christmas stuff organised too - I'm hoping that we don't have to fetch all the tiles off when we redo the downstairs cloakroom - I really don't want this level of upheaval this side of Christmas but what are the odds?

Monday, November 23, 2009

His Darling Nurse - Party Wrap up!!

I'll be doing the last draw this evening so today is your last chance to enter and win. Loving the jokes - keep them coming!
And one final excerpt!
Charlie’s class filed out first after the bell signalling the end of the school day rang. Juliet saw him looking for her amongst the group of parents gathered at the gate and she waved to capture his attention. His teacher smiled as Charlie sprinted across the few yards of tarmac to meet her with a hug.
“My teacher’s really nice, and there’s a goldfish in my classroom, and Jamie Smith is my friend, and can he come for tea tomorrow?” Words spilled out of Charlie so fast in his excitement that Juliet struggled to keep up with the thread of all he had to say.
“Slow down! Let’s walk to the shop and I’ll get us an ice cream and you can tell me all about school,” Juliet suggested, laughing at the way he danced along beside her, his schoolbag bumping on the pavement.
The ground shimmered in the heat of the late afternoon sun when they left the small corner shop with an ice cream each. Having spent the day in the air-conditioned comfort of her treatment room, Juliet longed to get home to take a shower and change out of her uniform. Charlie appeared oblivious to the sun and chattered away, his auburn curls sticking to his forehead beneath the brim of his cap.
She came home to find Neil’s car parked at the kerb outside his house. Juliet wondered if he’d managed to contact the fencing contractors. With luck she might manage to catch him and ask about the repairs before he returned for evening surgery. That would be if he was still speaking to her after she’d dropped him in it for the quiz night, of course.
They let themselves in through the front door and Scruffy ran to greet them.
“I bet you want to go out.” Juliet went for his lead, but before she could slip it onto Scruffy’s collar, Charlie opened the back door. The little dog made a bid for freedom and bolted between Charlie’s legs towards the opening. Juliet could only watch helplessly as he headed straight for the gap in the fence and the remainder of Neil Forrest’s once-perfect garden
(C) Nell Dixon 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday - His darling Nurse weekend free for all

Post for your chance to win a free download of His Darling Nurse - I want to hear funny medical stories, jokes etc! I'll give out special prizes for really good/funny ones!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First door prize winner!

Step forward Josh Lockwood! Your name was picked by my eldest belle as the first of the door prize winners to get a free download of His Darling Nurse!

More posts to come over the next few days and more chances to win so keep the comments coming as everyone gets entered for every draw!

His Darling Nurse - Day 3

I'm back from London - very tired and with a blister on my heel from walking. I'll be drawing a name later for the first of the giveaways so leave a comment to be in with a chance of a prize!
A few people have asked where I got the idea for the barbecue scene in the first excerpt. For that I have to thank my neighbour, Chris. Chris loves to barbecue and a few years ago when he first got the bug he had his barbecue too close to my other neighbour, Tracey's fence. I heard a shriek and went outside to see smoke pouring from the fence at the back of Tracey's shed while Chris was frantically attempting to put out the flames with the hose. Luckily the damage wasn't anywhere near as bad as Juliet's conflagration.
Tell me about the kind of disasters you've experienced with barbecues?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

His Darling Nurse - day 2

I'll be out a lot today as I'm going to London to meet my agency and to attend the launch for the wonderful Loves Me, Loves Me Not anthology but the party is still on and tomorrow I'll draw the first door prize from all the comments posted up to now for a free download of His Darling Nurse - if you already have your copy then I'll send you something gorgeous instead!
Here's another snippet to entertain you while I'm gone.

Wake up, Mummy. Wake up!”
Juliet groaned. Her bed dipped and sagged under Charlie’s weight as he bounced on her quilt. She squinted at the alarm clock, blinking in horror when she realized the time.
“Oh no, Charlie, we’re late.”
Scruffy barked with excitement as she chivvied Charlie along to get dressed. She put on her uniform and headed to the kitchen. So much for being up early and looking poised and professional.
“Charlie, toast’s done!” She poured him a glass of orange juice as he clumped downstairs with his shirt hanging out and his tie under his left ear.
Juliet tucked his shirt in and straightened his tie before he took his seat at the table for breakfast. She hurried to prepare his packed lunch for school. A few quick glances out of the kitchen window while she buttered his bread revealed the extent of the damage from yesterday’s fire.
She hoped Neil knew of some cheap fencing contractors. Her budget for renovating the house had been small to begin with, and the extra expense of paying for repairs to someone else’s property would blow her budget wide apart.
Scruffy yapped from by the back door so Juliet slipped on his lead to let him out into the garden. She didn’t want to add to the damage by allowing Scruffy to rampage across Neil’s bowling-green-like lawn.
There were no signs of life at Neil’s house, and Juliet wondered if he’d already left for work. It didn’t look like she would be likely to bump into him in his pyjamas coming out to the dustbin.
A peep at her watch told her she needed to speed Charlie along or they would both be late, so she hurried back inside. She had her key ready to lock her front door when Neil emerged from his house.
“Good morning, Juliet—Charlie.”
“Morning. How’s the hand?” Juliet flushed at his unexpected emergence. His neat suit and crisply ironed shirt contrasted vividly with the image of him in pyjamas that she had conjured up just minutes before.
He flexed his hand. “It’s fine. By the way, did Rose mention that we have a practice meeting today?”
Juliet blushed deeper and stammered an acknowledgement of the meeting, but he appeared oblivious to the heat in her cheeks.
“Then I’ll see you later.” He walked off towards a shiny new estate car.
By the time Juliet had dropped Charlie at his new school, spoken to his teacher and watched him file inside with his new classmates, she was ten minutes late.
“This is not a good omen,” she muttered. She rushed around the corner to the surgery and buzzed for entry at the staff door. “Way to go, Juliet.” Now she could add poor timekeeping under arson on her list of faults.
(c) Nell Dixon 2009
Available from Freya's Bower

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

His Darling Nurse Excerpt One!

Here's your first excerpt!

“Could we have a barbeque this afternoon, Mum?” Charlie sat on the old bench, swinging his legs and slipping Scruffy a taste of his ice cream whenever he thought Juliet wasn’t looking.
“Well….” She felt a little nervous about trying out the barbeque. It had been a leaving present from her last practice. Juliet’s previous home had been a second-floor flat and she and Charlie had never had the luxury of a garden before. Not that Martin would have allowed us to enjoy it even if we had, she thought bitterly.
“Please, Mum?”
“Okay, I’ve got some burgers and sausages. We’ll finish moving all this stuff we’ve cleared to the bottom of the garden, and then I’ll check to see if we’ve got everything we need.”
Charlie whooped with delight, making Scruffy bark excitedly. Juliet smiled. The last few months had been so difficult, her spirits lifted to see her son happy again.
She tugged the barbeque from under the kitchen window onto the flattest part of the ground she and Charlie had cleared. Her workmates had thought of everything, for inside the big metal dome she discovered cooking tools, charcoal, lighter fluid and matches. Charlie watched from a safe distance while Juliet read the instructions and set everything up.
“Darn.” By the twelfth match, the charcoal had still failed to light.
“What’s the matter with it, Mum?”
“Nothing, I’ll get it going in a minute. Go inside and wash your hands for tea.”
Charlie trotted obediently past her and into the house and Juliet tried yet another match.
“More lighter fluid—that must be it,” she muttered. Juliet added extra charcoal and sloshed a generous measure of fluid over the top of the pile.
She held her breath as she dropped another match onto the coals, only to step back swiftly with a shriek. The coals had erupted into flames with a loud pop.
Juliet froze in horror. The barbeque had turned into a roaring bonfire. Sparks flew into the air and blazing charcoal dropped onto the dry grass. She realized too late that in her efforts to stand the barbeque on a flat piece of ground, she had inadvertently placed it too close to the fence.
Before she had time to react, the sparks ignited the dry timber of the ancient garden bench Charlie had been sitting on earlier in the afternoon. Within minutes, the fence panel behind it was ablaze too. Coming to her senses at the sight of the disaster unfolding rapidly before her, Juliet rushed to the tap on the kitchen wall and attached the hose. She attempted to turn on the water but to her dismay, the tap refused to budge. She struggled to turn the rusty metal, cursing and wrenching as the flames climbed higher. By now the fence was well alight, and Charlie stared open-mouthed from the doorstep.
A jet of water came from the other side of the fence just as Juliet managed to loosen the tap.
“Charlie, go inside!”
Her first concern was for her son’s safety. If the fire didn’t die down soon she would have to call the fire brigade. Steam and acrid smoke filled the air. She tackled the blaze with her hose and her neighbour doused the flames from his side of the garden.
“What the hell happened?”
Juliet couldn’t see the owner of the voice through the smoke, but he sounded furious.
The flames were almost out and three panels of fence were gone, leaving a smouldering wreck. The smoke began to drift away, and she could just make out a tall, masculine figure. Her eyes stinging, tears streamed down Juliet’s cheeks. She coughed to clear the toxic fumes from her throat.
“I’m so sorry. It was an accident,” she wheezed.
Her neighbour switched off his hose and kicked the charred frame of the fence out of the way to step through the newly created opening into Juliet’s garden.
“Are you all right?” He took hold of her shoulders and peered into her eyes. Juliet struggled to make the blurry outline of his face snap into focus as she continued to choke from the fumes.
“Inhaled a bit of smoke, but I’m fine.” She dashed a hand across her eyes to clear her vision.
He let go of her and patted his jacket pockets as if searching for something. Juliet blinked with surprise when he produced a stethoscope and slipped it around his neck.
“Smoke inhalation can be serious, you know.” He wrapped his fingers around her wrist and checked her pulse.
“Really, I’m fine. I’m a nurse, I know I’m okay.” She forced a weak smile in an attempt to reassure him. Now the flames had subsided and the air had cleared, her breathing pattern settled into something less ragged.
Apparently satisfied, her new neighbour released her hand.

His Darling Nurse
© Nell Dixon 2009

His Darling Nurse - celebration!

Hi, I'm Juliet Darling and Nell has asked me to stop by to welcome you all to the party to celebrate the release of His Darling Nurse. It's a bit of a pun really - the title I mean. Neil, Dr, Forrest, makes a joke about it as my surname is Darling. If you met Neil you wouldn't think he was the sort of man to make jokes. I didn't think he was when we first met, but then again, I had just burned down half his garden.
Anyway, Nell asked me to tell you that the celebrations will be on all week to let everyone in the different time zones drop in. She's going to give away some prizes of downloads of His Darling Nurse and also a few other little treats. Some other authors will be stopping by too so there'll be lots of excerpts and fun. All the comments will be put into a hat for prizes and Nell will draw different ones throughout the week, so don't just pass by be sure to say hello!
Love Juliet x

Juliet Darling needs a fresh start. With the end to her disastrous marriage, she hopes that moving to the village of Chandler’s Gate—where she landed a job as a practice nurse—will give her and her small son Charlie just such an opportunity. Her ex-husband, however, doesn’t plan on allowing them to escape his clutches quite so easily.

Dr. Neil Forrest finds his quiet and orderly life disrupted both at work, with the arrival of Juliet and her new ideas about what a practice nurse should do, and at home when the accident-prone Juliet and her son move in to the house next door. Neil has deep-rooted insecurities about life and relationships since the premature death of his wife. The loss has left him clinging to his precious routines in an attempt to protect himself from further pain.

It takes a very special little boy, an out of control barbecue and a terrible accident before Neil and Juliet can finally get together and Neil can make Juliet his very own darling nurse.

Monday, November 16, 2009

His Darling Nurse

Is released tomorrow and there'll be a party here to celebrate, so stop by for some excerpts and for some prizes. I'm incredibly nervous about this story - it's been ages since I had an e book release, if you don't count the e book and kindle versions of my Little Black Dress books. It's my first book for Freya's Bower and my first with a medical backdrop.
I really love this story though which is why I've fought to get it out there. Juliet and Neil are two very determined characters and Charlie Darling is a real cutie.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I have a small collection of phrases and conversations that I've overheard and which make me smile. Today I added another great one.
"That woman is always at the doctors. I think he's so sick of her half the medicine he gives her are those gazebos"

I'm assuming she meant placebos but what a great image.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bloomin' heck!

I was on the WH Smith website looking for books for pressies and stumbled across this:
'Just Look at Me Now' Description

Tia's top beauty tip: apply heavy make-up carefully to prevent any cracks from showing...Life is fabulous for Tia Carpenter. She has it all, money, looks, a great job as the beauty expert at stylish Platinum magazine and, at last, the attention of her unrequited high school love, Josh Banks. But Tia has a secret -- back at school she was Barbara Baker, overweight, crooked teeth, frizzy hair and no fashion sense. Cosmetic dentistry, losing seven stones in weight and a complete makeover later, Tia has successfully erased her past life as Big Barb, tub of lard, until the day Juliet Gold, the bane of her teenage existence, arrives to work at the magazine. Juliet always got everything she ever wanted, and now she wants both Tia's job and Josh. Tia will have to use every makeover trick she's ever learned to stop Juliet from uncovering her past and stealing her man.
Out August 2010

Um, guess I'd really better get a spurt on then.

Rainy days

I went out in the rain last night to take the eldest belle and her friend to one of the local colleges for their open night. Mr Nell drove thank goodness while we attemped to avoid being swept away by the water torrenting down all around us. We got to the college and thankfully they had a carpark. Mr Nell went to park and I noticed the amount of surface water so he pulled to the edge of the car park where the ground was higher. By the time we got out of the car to walk across to the reception area the car park was a lake. The force of the water had lifted a manhole cover underneath a silver Vectra in the centre of the carpark and water was gushing up under it like a fountain! Quite an experience. Today everywhere is just soggy and debris from the trees is lying in heaps in the gutters. It looks as if we might be in for a wet and wild weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Playing hooky

I have an unexpected day off today! Such a lovely treat. It feels a bit naughty somehow, like going to the cinema in the middle of the day or being somewhere you shouldn't be. I might even manage to get some writing done. I'm headed for the sticky middle section of the book and events need to start moving. It's at times like this that I wish I was more of a plotter but I'm not so I'll carry on trying to persude my hero to stop ogling my heroine and try to find out what's really going on between him and his ex.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

GCSE angst

The eldest belle is sitting her english GCSE early this week and one of her maths papers. I can't get my head around this system of doing stuff in bits at all different times. Keep your fingers crossed for her and for me. We've one more college to see this week too. This is the fall back position - the one the kids tend to put down if they don't get their first choice. It'll be interesting to compare with the other two.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Faffing about

Such a lovely word isn't it, faffing? Sort of sums up my day. This is my one day off this week and I'd planned all sorts of things that I needed to do. I should know better really by now. First my middle dd forgot her homework so instead of a leisurely read of the paper in my PJ's and a nice bath I ended up dressing and dashing up to school. Since I was out that way I dropped down to Sainsburys and did a grocery shop then came back to fiddle with the printer to finally print off a load of stuff that I'd been needing to do for ages. It's a faff to print stuff as my printer has died so I need to use Mr Nell's computer and his printer. Then microsoft has decided my copy of microsoft office isn't a proper version - even though they validated it when it went on the puter and a few times since, so now strangely, after running perfectly ever since I've had it now it plays up. Doesn't fill me with confidence when saving stuff - thankfully I back up constantly. So by the time I'd checked that I could get into all my stuff, wrote a blog post for someone and done some long overdue PR and promo stuff somehow the days gone, I still never got my nice long peaceful bath or my restful read of the paper.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Remembrance Day

For today a repeat of a post from two years ago.

Remembrance Day

Poppies gleam amongst the gold as glints of scarlet thread.
'It's Rosemary for remembrance,' was all the old man said.
The beaches soft of palest sand are cleansed by each new wave.
Long, straight rows of chalk white stone, regimented graves.
The flowers bow their crimson heads and whisper in the wheat,
Petals fall like blood red tears, shimmering in the heat.
Seagulls scream out the last post while wheeling overhead.
'It's Rosemary for remembrance,' was all the old man said.
Children clamber on a tank still frozen in its track,
few pause to read the words written on the plaque.
Where the heavy boots once marched now children laugh and play,
and the sun is the only casualty at the dying of the day.
Outside the cafe by the bridge the old man sipped his tea.
'It's Rosemary for remembrance,' was all he said to me.

(C) Nell Dixon 2004

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Everybody dance now!

Belle's have their first dance performance this afternoon and the second one tomorrow. The house is covered with glitter as costumes, tights, shoes are piled everywhere as the belles hunt for clips, eyeliner and ballet pumps.
The sink for the cloakroom has finally turned up - the only snag is that we'd planned to do the cloakroom during halfterm, now by the time Mr Nell's shifts allow him time to do it we're at the start of December. Just what I need as I try to reclaim the house into some semblance of order before the fat guy in the red suit rolls up on December 25th.
And what I really want to know is why the book I'm not supposed to be writing is clamouring in my brain, while on my contracted book, everyone appears to have gone off in a mighty sulk?

Friday, November 06, 2009


I've been feeling really down all this week - most unlike me. I'm usually pretty laid back and an onwards and upwards kind of person. There isn't even anything I can really put it down to. Just lots of tiny niggly worries I think and most of them are over things that in the bigger picture don't really matter. I've even had some really nice things happen to me lately too, like I'm planning to meet my lovely agent for lunch and I've a lunch planned with my writing buddies Phillipa and Liz. Maybe it's the onset of darker nights and colder weather. Hopefully it'll pass soon and I'll be back to my normal self.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I just realised that it really, really isn't very long till His Darling Nurse releases and am I prepared? Um, no. Lots of things to do and organise and no time to do it. Today was interesting - we had a discussion in our staff meeting on wether we should be allowed to wear jeans. Our current dress code says appropriate smart casual dress - which for me includes smart jeans - I don't mean the sort with rips etc. I'm sure people are adult enough to choose appropriate clothing - if what they wear really does frighten thehorses or casts us into disrepute then fair enough but really I don't think we need to be told what trousers to wear. I'm sure everything will be agreed amicably.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

His Darling Nurse - cover!

Coming soon from Freya's Bower - Releasing NOVEMBER 17th!!!!.

Chocolate and other goodies

I ran errands for my eldest dd today - there's something wrong with that picture don't you think? Shouldn't she run errands for me? I was charged with getting a black tee shirt for the dance show and three Christmas presents - all girls, two birthday presents - boy and girl and one boy Christmas gift, plus could I keep it to around £5 per person. I think I did good. I got all the presents and got the birthday ones gift wrapped for under four pounds a head. I discovered on route that Hotel Chocolat has all the Halloween chocolate marked way down and some good offers on the other chocolate and Thorntons has some real bargains, a big box of the festive chocolate mints £5 instead of £10 amongst other bargains.
I couldn't get the things I'd gone for tho for my middle dd's upcoming birthday so ended up coming back to order them on line. I got some good ideas for my remaining pressies so hopefully when I can get some money I can finish off my shopping before the real madness kicks in.
Writing wise I had a good day yesterday so hopefully I can do the same today in between helping fill out college application forms, errands and going into the day job for a special meeting.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Getting into the groove

My writing time this year has felt quite fragmented. I finished Crystal Clear - edits etc, made a false start with A Scattering of Leaves, lots of edits on His Darling Nurse, and have a third done on Just Look at me Now and now I've almost 15k done on You, Me and Him. Normally though by now I would have hoped to have been almost to the half way point with Just Look at Me Now and at 20K for You Me and Him.
Still, we've one more college to look at and eldest has to get her applications in this week. The cloakroom is still untouched as surprise, surprise the bathroom people can't get the sink! Dance show will be out of the way after Sunday and then just maybe I can get a head of steam going on my writing before the festive capers strike up. Whatever happens I need to get my groove on again!

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Hope you all had a good Halloween? I love Halloween, we get the house all decorated with cobwebs and bats and candles. I'm lucky in that we live on a small estate and Halloween is a lovely time for meeting up with neighbours - the kids trick or treat in costumes between 5.30 and 8 and only to the Halloween friendly houses - there are signs up for the ones taking part. Everyone is out and about and it's so cute to see the kids meeting up to compare their costumes and their loot. The Mom's and Dad's all seem to enjoy it as much as the kids.
The writers workshop was great - really fun and it was lovely to see so many people there. I got soem great tips from Jeff and I'm looking forward to reading his book, Box of Tricks.
This is the start of my crazy fortnight - yes it's the annual dance show for the Belle's on Saturday and Sunday at Netherton Arts Centre. So it's costume labelling, rehearsals, and mayhem. Plus I've still got a college to look at with the eldest belle even though she's decided on her first choice. Fingers crossed she gets the results she needs to go there. She plans to study business studies, Applied ICT, Sociology and Dance - well thats her plan at the moment.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I know this is living vicariously but is it wrong to be so childishly excited when I opened my copy of The Sun (very highbrow of me - don't care) this morning to see a half page ad for WH Smiths promoting the top 100 bestselling hardbacks and a pic of this book was there!
I know my tiny little story only fills about four pages and there are hugely famous fabulouso authors in there, plus the lovely Katie's name is emblazoned across the front but even so I still think it's amazing!

By the way if any of you should be in Wombourne this afternoon between 2 and 4 my local writers group are holding a workshop given by Jeff Phelps, author of Box of Tricks (Tindall St Press)Should be good!

Friday, October 30, 2009

His Darling Nurse

Coming soon from Freya's Bower:

Juliet Darling needs a fresh start. With the end to her disastrous marriage, she hopes that moving to the village of Chandler’s Gate—where she landed a job as a practice nurse—will give her and her small son Charlie just such an opportunity. Her ex-husband, however, doesn’t plan on allowing them to escape his clutches quite so easily.

Dr. Neil Forrest finds his quiet and orderly life disrupted both at work, with the arrival of Juliet and her new ideas about what a practice nurse should do, and at home when the accident-prone Juliet and her son move in to the house next door. Neil has deep-rooted insecurities about life and relationships since the premature death of his wife. The loss has left him clinging to his precious routines in an attempt to protect himself from further pain.

It takes a very special little boy, an out of control barbecue and a terrible accident before Neil and Juliet can finally get together and Neil can make Juliet his very own darling nurse.

The official blurb - cover to follow soon and I'll let you know the release date in the next few weeks!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The only problem with holidays is that you come back to loads of work. In my case it's office stuff - invoices, filing receipts etc and more edits for charlie Darling. I've also got to come up with a new title for Charlie Darling. At the moment it's looking like His Darling Nurse. Very Betty Neelish isn't it? Although Dr Neil Forrest isn't Dutch but he is very nice - Jess said he reminded her of Daniel Craig - and Juliet isn't splendidly built. She is however a magnet for disaster and her lovely son Charlie is a real cutie. I'm so looking forward to seeing this released - the cover is hot. I've never had a clinch cover before so it's quite exciting. Once the titles finalised and I get the okay to share I'll post it for you all to see.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The wanderer returns

I'm home again after a few days break in the tourer. We stayed at Burnham and had a lovely time. We Christmas and birthday shopped at Street and Weston Super Mare and toured the amazing Farley Hungerford castle ruins where we saw medieval wall paintings and lead coffins. We had a wonderful lunch in the atmospheric Hungerford Arms. The weather was kind and I managed to buy a whole load of Betty Neels books and read eight of them while we were away - marvellous! I would have liked to be a Betty Neels heroine - I'm tall and could be classed as splendidly built. I love food and have no objections to riding around in a Bentley or Aston Martin being driven by a wealthy Dutch surgeon - happy sigh.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Library talk

Yesterday I was at a library event at Central library in Dudley. It happens to be the place where I found and joined my first writers group - I was thirteen. I met a woman there called Betty Warneck. Sadly, Betty is no longer with us but she changed my life completely. Betty was a tour de force, black hair, red lipstick and crackling with energy. She had a gift for making you believe that anything was possible if you wanted it enough and worked at it enough. Thirty years on I still miss her.
It was lovely to see that Dudley still has a writers group - now called Castle writers, hopefully they'll carry on supporting and helping young writers with a dream the way i was helped and supported. It's partly why I love beuing involved with Wombourne Writers and I especially enjoy supporting my local libraries. Libraries are such magical places for writers and readers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Down at the station

Interesting journey on the train to Stoke. (Didn't see Robbie Williams alas) I think there is real evidence of the North South divide on trains. You'll remember my post about the hellish journey south with the glammed up city girls and the loud and busy business. Well, going to Stoke, similar time of day was so different - businessmen were quiet, just conversational chatter. Hardly anyone was glued to a mobile and just a few people on laptops. The girls were dressed normally in simple plain trousers and smart casual tops and sensible footwear. Totally different. My job share partner who took a different train commented on the same thing. We were deciding where the demarcation line might begin - we think Banbury is a candidate.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day off today

I've one free day this week and this is it. It's looking to be a really hectic week. Day job on Tuesday, Presenting at a conference in Stoke-on-Trent Wednesday (Do you think I might bump into Robbie Williams?) I'm at Dudley Central Library all Thursday morning for a local authors event along with three other writers and Dudley Carers group. Then Friday it's the day job again. Wednesday night I think we're going to King Edwards college for a look around but since they've changed the date everytime the winds changed I'm not too sure about that. Thursday night we're looking around another sixth form college - both of these are for the eldest belle as she's in her GCSE year, and then Saturday we go away for a few days to the sea.
I am using the term day off loosely today as I want to finish another chapter, do my banking and we're supposed to pick up the new sanitary wear ready to redo the downstairs cloakroom next week.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blue is the colour

Remember I got some new jeans, ones that fit and are the right length and everything. I really liked them? Well, there's a slight hitch - everytime I wear them they send my hands blue with dye. Yesterday they sent the bottom of one of my favourite cream tops blue. I'll put them through the machine and see if they're any better after they've been washed. The odd thing is I wore them in the rain and my legs didn't go blue - just my hands - how weird is that?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Asking the public

My day job is kind of cool and very varied. Part of it involves running consultation groups to find out from the public in my area their views on certain topics. Today my jobshare partner and I did three sessions, two in a town centre and one in a pub. We got to talk to lots of different people from all kinds of backgrounds who kindly spared us a few minutes of their time. Thanks to all of those who took part and even the man who said he didn't talk to strange people. We didn't think we were that strange but then again...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cover star!

Coming to a bookstore near you on January 21st or preorder now from Amazon (link in side bar) Isn't it luverly? I adore Little Black Dress covers and this one is just so pretty and sparkly and girly.

Renovation station

I thought I'd had a good idea. I thought while we were away for a few days at half term it would be nice to take down the old cutain fitment and strip the walls in our downstairs cloakroom and paint them with the left over paint from the lounge. This is a small room and half tiled with nice tiles but we haven't decorated in there for fifteen years. I made the mistake of discussing my thoughts with Mr Nell - sigh. So now I'm having a new toilet and basin, a tiled floor, new fitments, the walls painted, oh, and maybe we might need to redo the wall tiles - argh. Sigh, I get to keep my mirror, picture and light fitting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's a sign

The sun is shining, I've two days writing time planned and guess what. Yep, I have a sick child home. I swear, everytime I get even the remotest possibility of a few hours peace and quiet to write, run errands and not have to worry about cleaning, or feeding, or taking someone somewhere the universe does this to me. Poor Miss Boo has the cough and heavy cold that has affected the other two belles over the last week. They are better now of course, but as her immune system has never been as strong as her sisters she's downstairs on the sofa sipping juice and coughing miserably.
What is it they say? best laid plans and all that?

Friday, October 09, 2009


Most of you know I'm a huge fan girl of Jessica Hart and Liz Fielding - so what could possibly be better than a new book containing both of those ladies story's? Many thanks to Jessica for sending me the latest release from the Romance line, I can't wait to start reading. Sadly however I've another editing round on Charlie Darling to finish first and I need to meet my writing deadlines for this week - now though I might just go a little bit faster with a fab book waiting in the wings for me to read. Also happy Birthday today to another Jessica! My lovely friend, Jessica Foote - Have a fab day!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wombourne Writers

It's the tenth anniversary soon for Wombourne Writers. Tonight it's our celebratory meal so we're laying down our pens for a visit to the local Italian restaurant. Yum. The group is growing and florishing with several published authors and so many wonderfully talented members. It's a lovely supportive group and I love being a part of it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


If you're anywhere near Heath Hayes library in Staffordshire pop along between 2.30 and 4.30 and say hi to me and fellow LBD author, Phillipa Ashley. By popular demand (well the librarians) we're reprising our Ethel and Lucy twosome. You can hear all about Little Black Dress books, our writing, Phillipa's film and lots more. Come and see us, you know you want to.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Travel broadens the mind

Yesterday I went to Bristol by train for a conference for the day job. The journey back was hugely unpleasant as we were packed in like sardines and I had a large lady next to me who occupied half of my seat as well as her own. To add to that she clearly had a stinking cold and persisted in sniffing loudly every few seconds. The nasal piercing added to the morbid fascination.
But on the way down, it was early in the morning, 7.15, I was fascinated by my fellow travellers. I realised that I am a) a slob, b)old and c) I don't care. The women on the train were all in a kind of corporate uniform of black skirt suits, knee high boots or high heeled shoes with thick soles that looked hell to wear all day. They all had funky, chunky necklaces and were surgically attached to their mobiles which twinged every few minutes. The men all had laptops and recieved phonecalls in which they discussed what presumably was quite sensitive business and personal information in loud voices for the delectation of the rest of us. Lots of 'well half of me says yes and half of me says no.' 'We should get another quote on the St Andrews hospital job.''Oh, you didn't get a mortgage, what are you going to do?'
Fascinating - what can be so urgent or important at 7.30 in the morning? What jobs do these people have?
In an aside I swear that as we pulled into Cheltenham Spa on the way back I saw Phil Spencer working on a laptop on the platform while he waited for a train.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blog award

Somebody loves me! Thank you for the award - it's cool and shiny and very unexpected.

Monday, September 28, 2009


It's official, I've gone down another size in jeans - okay so the new ones are a tiny bit tight but I can do them up without having to lie down - always a plus that, I think. Now if I can just keep this up and, I think I can as I'm not dieting just being more thoughtful about what I eat. It's so nice when your clothes fit you better. I'm not weighing myself either because it's what I think I look like and how that makes me feel that's really important and I don't want to get hung up on the old pounds and ounces. And yes, I don't do kilo's, I'm older and crotchety, live with it.
Synopsis is done now for You, Me and Him - it still needs a bit more oomph I think but it's looking okay and I've started chapter four.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Looking good

Miss La has had her hair cut and restyled. When she was six she decided she didn't want a fringe any more and grew it out. Now she's in senior school and all grown up she's had it cut back in. She looks so grown up and stylish, like a member of a girl band - sob - this is my baby!
My healthy eating routine appears to be working for me and I think I need to go down another size in jeans soon as the current pair are starting to fall down. I still don't look like Twiggy but it means I've gone down two clothes sizes since I strated my eating smaller quantities, cut out unhealthy snacks and cut down bread by eating salad instead at work regime started.
The copy edits for Crystal Clear are done and gone back to my editor at Little Black Dress and I now have a rough synopsis for You, Me and Him. Next stop, another chapter for You, Me and Him and another chapter for Just Look at me Now then the first third of Just Look at Me Now will be done! Yay!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Taxing Times

Well, the dreaded taxes are done and my paperwork is winging it's way to the good people at the inland revenue.Hopefully I haven't stuffed it up like I did the year before last. I'm sure they have my file marked with I for idiot when I ring them with my feeble minded questions. They are always so helpful and nice though. I'm hoping this will be my last year for doing them myself - I know I say that every year but it's not that easy finding an accountant type person who can work with someone who is as numerically challenged as me. It's always a load off my mind once the paperwork is done and sent and I tuck my envelope full of reciepts and my scribbled notes away for the year. I must chase down all my bits of paper for this year too - for some reason I'm a bit behind on that this year. I have them, I just haven't checked that I've entered them and put the receipts in the right month yet.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Music to write by

As well as my next Little Black Dress book, Just Look at Me Now I'm also working on another project. This is something I'm doing for fun as the story won't leave me alone, it's a bit bonkers and has all kinds of stuff going on in it and is hugely enjoyable to write. Today I started pulling together my playlist of songs that encapusalte different bits of the book. I do this for all my books and I already have one for Just Look at Me Now - the theme tune for that one is mainly Breakfast at Tiffany's at the moment btw.
For my fun book called You, Me and Him my list so far is:
The theme from Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jnr
All the single ladies - Beyonce
Crazy Horses - The Osmonds
Kiss from a Rose - Seal
I'm sure I'll add more as I go along but as I'm cobbling my synopsis together these are the sounds on my play list.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

On with the dance!

Well, we're back in the regular routine again now - dance school runs - show is in November so it'll be costumes and rehearsals again before there's time to blink. All of which is serving to remind me that I still haven't done my taxes and Christmas is sneaking up scarily quickly.
I'm also going to be doing a few extra hours at the day job - great news for my bank balance but not so good for my writing schedule so I need to get a move on. I'm sure I'd work faster if my neighbours would keep their dogs quiet. I love dogs and normally these dogs aren't noisy but just lately they are driving me nuts. It's like nails on a blackboard everytime they start and I lose my concentration. Argh.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Turkish delight

To add to my joy, Animal Instincts has sold for foreign translation into Turkish! Yay, wonder what they will make of Dave the parrot?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lichfield lunch

Today was lovely, I've been working very hard over the weekend - massive edits on Charlie Darling and then I wrote almost 3k yesterday on the next book for LBD, so today was my reward. I went to Lichfield for lunch with two of my favourite writerly people - Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury. As usual we talked booky and writing non stop - toured the beautiful cathedral, drank lots of latte and ate cake. I also bought a very lovely scarf for my upcoming trip to London in November for a launch party and meeting with my agents. To top of my excellent day out I came back to an email saying that Blue Remembered Heels had sold to Indonesia. Very exciting to have foreign translations!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Edits and edits

More edits over the weekend on Charlie Darling - each round brings the release a bit closer! At least that's what I tell myself when I'm flagging a bit. Some books always need a bit more than others and I think because I wrote this a while ago now and I've learned so much more it needed that extra spit and shine to make it sparkle.
Tomorrow I have a nice writerly lunch lined up with two of my favourite people so I'm planning a head down, fingers on keyboard day today so I can play hookey tomorrow and actually have a day off before the day job summons.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Exciting stuff!

I just learned that the large print edition of Blue Remembered Heels will be out on the first of October. I need to remind all my lovely librarian friends at the local libraries who've been waiting to acquire it for their shelves. I think my mom will be first in the queue to reserve a copy so she can finally read it. Animal Instincts will be out in large print on the first of April next year so not too long for that either! Also, in my quest to find you all a bargain, the lovely people at the book depositary who not only have free delivery anywhere in the world also have Loves Me, Loves Me Not at a steal of a price - much, much cheaper than Amazon!HERE So if you haven't got your copy yet and the copies for your friends, relatives, work colleagues etc for Christmas, Halloween, birthdays etc - rush on over and bag a bargain.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Putting The Black Country on the map

Today sees the launch of a new ordnance survey map and this one finally has THE BLACK COUNTRY clearly marked as an area for the first time! Yay! As you all know I'm very proud of my area, it's a special place and recognition of it's heritage is long overdue. So you can imagine how chuffed I was to be on BBC radio WM this morning with a little snippet saying how pleased I was.Go Here for the Black Country alphabet song!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What happened to this year?

How come it's September? Why does my car have dew on the windows every morning? and why are there spiders spinning their webs everywhere? I noticed some of the shops are evn starting to stock Christmas lines. I can't believe where the time has gone.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Random thoughts

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the woman on the airfreshner ads, you know, the one whose kid wants to do a poo in Paul's bathroom is the same woman in the advert for kitchen towels where the elephant breaks down the fence?
And I want to know how Paul feels about people wanting to poo in his bathroom? I mean, does he charge? is there a queue outside his front door? Is he listed with a brown leisure sign on the main road pointing the way to Paul's bathroom?
It's like the ad for the phone, I think it's an iphone, where they tell you haow to phone Kevin after finding his number - I don't want to phone Kevin or email him.
Sigh, the belles have threatened to ban me from watching the ads.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Back to school

I waved goodbye to the belles this morning as they return for their new school year. Miss La is starting secondary school and for a whole year I'll have all three girls at the same school. Miss La looked very smart in her new uniform, laden down with all her equpment as they don't get their timetable till they arrive today so they have to take everything on the first day - PE kit, swim kit, football boots, labcoats, foodtech apron, bag with general school stuff, and lunch. I think her stuff weighs more than her.
Now I have to wait till after three when I schlepp back to collect them and find out how the first day of 'big' school actually went!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Crystal Clear

Well, the first lot of tweaks are done and I've sent it back to my lovely editor for her thoughts. I've put the first unedited chapter up on my website now - so head over HERE and look in excerpts if you want a peek. It's also on Amazon for preorder and the release date seems to have jumped forward from April to Jan 21st! Yay!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009


Longtime readers of this blog will know that Mr Nell is not romantic. This is the man who haggled for a discount on my engagement ring. Next year is our silver wedding anniversary and we've been debating how we should celebrate 25 years of me not having killed him. Well, he surprised me the other day by dropping a brochure in my lap and announcing that he'd booked a few days away for us in Jersey for our anniversary. In a hotel, with an indoor pool and a posh restaurant and everything.
Wow! I guess that means I'll have to get him more than his usual bottle of wine for his present.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


My edits have now arrived for Crystal Clear - I re read the ms through for the first time since I sent it off at the end of May. My editor writes little notes on the script that always make me smile when I read them and her suggestions are always good. By the time I reached the last scene I was surprised to find I was crying. Not sure why - I mean I know how it finishes, but I think it just took me a bit by surprise. Next stop implementing the three or four small suggestions from my editor before Charlie Darling comes winging back to me.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Getting there

Well, first lot of edits for Charlie darling are done - my editor says she'll have the next round to me in two weeks time. I've read through the NWS script and will get the report done this week when I've read it again. Prepared my workshop thatI'm delivering tomorrow night - I'd forgotten about it till my eldest reminded me. Now to tackle a few more of my cp's chapters and then I can hopefully get some more done on Just Look at Me Now by the end of the week.
I'm slowly recovering from the weekend's running around for the day job. This weekend was the Sandwell show and we made 1,200 eco friendly paper flower pots filled them with herbs and gave them away.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to work with a bang

Well, you know I said i would be getting my head down to work on my writing? It's definitely the end of playtime! I just got my first round edits for Charlie darling - my e book for Freya's Bower, an NWS script, a load of critting still to be done for my lovely cp and I'm working on two books, one for Little Black dress and one for a speculative project for my agent. I still have my taxes to sort out and I'm planning some future books.
I got my hands on my copy of Loves Me, Loves Me Not today too. That's the beautiful and BIG anthology produced by the RNA and published by MIRA with some fabulous stories in - wow! I am so awed that my little story, Wishing For George made the cut having read a few of the great stories in there. If you haven't got a copy, it is so worth getting and will make awesome Christmas presents for anyone who loves reading good quality short romantic fiction.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Almost done

No, not the books, Big Brother. I must admit I was a little bit sad when C4 announced the next series would be the last. As an ardent people watcher Big Bro takes some beating. Admittedly this series has been disappointing, with only Marcus, objectionable though some of his habits may be, saving the day from complete boredom. I hope he stays tonight and Siavash is the one to go. I don't even have a favorite to win this year. Lisa is horrid, Sophie is dimmer than a ten watt bulb, Siavash has no spine, Dave is just annoying, Charlie is sneaky and two faced, Rodrigo is hotheaded and I think could land himself in trouble if he won. All the same, the psychology of seeing how people react in different situations is something I find fascinating and I'll miss it. I'll even miss Davinia 'Shouty' MCall and her totally rubbish interviews.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Return of the prodigal writer

Well, I'm home complete with Mr Nell and the belles. Our summer touring is over and it's all systems go back to school, work and the usual everyday round. That means writing too. I really need to pull my finger out and chock up my word counts. I also need to tackle the dreaded tax return too - cue much whinging and muttered cursing as I try to find all my bits of paper and add things up.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bra talk

Mr Nell was hiding behind the paper the other day while the belles discussed their figures. After enduring about half an hour of lingerie discussions he poked his head over the top of his paper and said.
'What you need is a sheepdog bra.'
They all stared at him for a moment then he added 'Rounds things up and points them in the right direction.'
I was telling my Mom about this on the phone the same night. When she'd stopped laughing she said, 'Or they could get a biblical bra like mine - all is safely gathered in.'
No wonder Mr Nell often says he's going to leave home and live in the tourer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

kicking babies

Today was the kind of day that to quote or misquote Douglas Adams, 'would make St Francis of Assissi want to kick babies'. Tomorrow promises to make today look positively joyful.
I think I need wine.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

life with the belles

I discovered this weekend that Miss La was under the impression the the words to Coom by yar were:
Coom by yar, my Lord, Cucumber

Go on try singing it!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Here we go again

I'm off again this weekend in the caravan and then again the following weekend. Mr Nell and the belles are staying the whole time - some of us have to come back to go to work. This time it's to one of my favourite sites at Chirk on the Welsh borders. Trips to Wrexham, Chester and Shrewsbury will no doubt ensue and the belles are already hinting at going to the zoo again as it's been a few years since we last went. Mr Nell is taking the bikes so he and the belles can cycle when they're away. Sadly, due to the dodgy hip my cycling days are over so I guess I'll have to sit in the (hopefully) sunshine by the caravan and read and write. What a hardship that will be.
The fishsitters are looking after the house and poor Angie my angel fish who still has popeye in her one eye despite a seven day course of fishy biotics. She hates the medicine and tries to dodge it by hiding in the weed when she spots the bottle in your hand.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More pics

The beach again - loved this beach and the sea was so warm and nice.

Miss La inside our caravan

View from Kidwelly Castle

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Holiday pics

Me and the belles at Kidwelly Castle

La, Shaggy and a friend

The belles at the national botanic garden of Wales

Cef'n Sidan beach

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last day

Today is the last day of my holiday. Mr Nell and the Belles are due back this afternoon so my nice orderly quiet will be shattered. Tomorrow I'm back to the day job and my job share partner is off on her hols for 2 weeks so there will be tons to do. So today I'm puttering about and taking my Mom for lunch before the madness and, no doubt the dirty laundry descends.
Had a lovely time last night with my friend, we caught up on gossip and had a nice meal. Pudding was yummy, lemon pannacotta with blueberries. My one indulgence so not bad.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Busy Bee

I've been very virtuous in the absence of Mr Nell and the belles. I've written two chapters of Just Look at Me Now and by the end of today I'm hoping to have a chapter done of Me, You and Him done too. I've read and critiqued 5 chapters for my cp and 2 for a writing friend. I've read and written a report for the NWS, sewn all the labels on Miss La's new uniform and cleaned out the bottom of my wardrobe.
Tonight I'm planning on going out for dinner with a friend, waves to Susanne, so we can catch up on gossip. I'm hoping to catch up with Phillipa, Liz and the coffee crew soon too. I'm still following my healthy eating plan though so I'll be choosing something good. I'd like to have lost a bit more weight by November as there's a possibility of a launch party in London for Loves Me, Loves Me Not and I plan to go if it comes off. It would be nice to finally go to something like that and even nicer if I could go looking like there was less of me.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

John Hughes

RIP John Hughes
John Hughes's films defined the eighties. He'll be much missed. Not so long back I blogged about introducing the eldest Belle to Pretty in Pink. Classic

Friday, August 07, 2009

Permission to write

Mr Nell and the belles are off to Malvern tomorrow for a few days. This means I'm free to do all the stuff that I'm way behind on - like cleaning - oh hum, and writing. I'm hoping for a really good writing weekend without having to worry about running out of bread or taxi-ing various offspring to their social commitments. Instead it'll be me and my computer and the fish.
Talking of the fish, we've lost all our loaches in the hot weather and several platys. My poor Angel fish, Angie isn't very well either. She has Pop-eye in her one eye and she isn't keen on the fishybiotics. Fingers crossed for her to make a full recovery so we can get the tank settled and get some more loaches. I miss them so much. Some good news though, we have a baby fish of indeterminate parentage, not sure if he's a Platy or a Molly.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

School uniform

I've been kitting out Miss La with her new uniform ready for high school in September - so far I've spent aprox £250. This includes trainers, shoes and football boots as well as stationary. What has really ticked me off is that the school has opted for a new PE kit. Instead of the generic pale blue polo shirt that I used to get from M&S for £3.99 as a 2 pack now it's £11.50 for one from the only shop in the area that supplies a specially printed top. Hmm, wonder if the fact that the shop is giving the school fund 10% from all it's sales of their kit is anything to do with the change? I only know this because I saw a notice for staff in the back room when Miss la was trying on her swimsuit - £9.99 for a plain navy costume. What a waste of money when I got her a nice costume for her holidays for £2.95 from George at Asda. Equally annoying is £14 for a navy school sweater just because it has the school name embroidered on it. The kids wear blazers all the time. They could have a plain navy jumper for less than £5 and they would still look smart.
Don't get me wrong, I think uniform is great but I hate the rip off that happens over trivial stuff like this.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Crystal Clear

Squee! The back cover blurb is up and a review quote - OMG! Sorry ahem, momentarily carried away there..
Here's what it says on Amazon.
‘A brilliantly fun read that will have you hooked!*****’ (OK! magazine )

Product Description
Sometimes you have to go back to move forward...

For years Zee has tried to ignore her real name (who calls their kid Azure Dawn?) and her mother Marla’s alternative lifestyle. A million miles away from all that new-age nonsense, she’s got a reliable teaching job, a perfect life plan and sensible accountant Simon for a fiancĂ©. But when Marla gets sick, the foundations of Zee’s rock-steady world are seriously shaken. Soon she’s back home, in touch with the boy who broke her heart and even being sucked into one of her mum’s hare-brained schemes. What about Zee’s plans for the future?! Could they ever include a free-spirit from her past?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Did ya miss me?

I'm back! I'm hoping the weather will stay dry long enough for me to dry the laundry mountain. Yesterday was a lovely day. We visited Kidwelly Castle which really is fabulous, then we hit the beach - Miss Boo tried out her boogie board. Then we finished the day with a barbecue - perfect last night for the hols.
As soon as Mr Nell finds the camera cable I'll try and get some pics up for you. I'm all set now for a good wekk of writing - in between finishing house chores and sorting out school uniform ready for the new term of course.
I did a lot of thinking this week about both my stories and I think I know where I'm going now - all my books have quite deep psychological layers which underpin the plotting and my external conflicts mirror what's really going on internally so I find I have to spend a lot of time early on in my books just getting the foundations right or the whole story will collapse in on itself in the middle. Hopefully I'm pretty much clear now on what threads I need to take up to make the books work.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sun and showers

Today we visited the Welsh national botanic gardens. The rain held off until late this afternoon which was good. The gardens were quite nice, especially the double walled garden. Sadly the food in the restaurants wasn't so great so we were all starving by the time we left. Tomorrow it's forecast to be a dry day so we're hoping to hit the beach again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

By the seaside

At last T moanbile has finally let me onto my own blog! We're here beside the sea in lovely and, at the moment, slightly damp Wales. Today we visited Swansea, where there is a lovely Waterstones but it had a very tiny romance selection. Yesterday we visited Camarthen, where with the exception of TK Max, we had a lovely time. If you go to Camarthen, only shop in TK Max if you have a lot of time to spend standing in a huge, huge queue. The beach here at Pembry Country Park is beautiful and the sea is gorgeous and warm. We've had a couple of lovely hot days mixed in with the rain.
I haven't done any writing as yet but I have so many things working out in my head that I can't wait to get home and get cracking.
In other news - Big Brother! Save Marcus - vote out Noirin!

Friday, July 24, 2009


We're off to Wales for a week leaving the housesitters minding the fish. This time we're going to Pembrey and the site is supposed to have WIFI so maybe my gadget will work this time. It's right by the sea so I can't wait. I'm hoping the weather will improve but Wales is famous for it's changeable weather so we'll see. I'm hoping to visit Kidwelly Castle and the National Welsh botanical gardens while we're there but most of all I'm hoping to write, and read and just enjoy the sea with Mr Nell and the belles.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nice warm glow

A few years ago I stumbled into the strange surreal world of the Bat Cave over at eHarlequin. The friends I made there will hate me for saying this but they are the most generous, warm, supportive group of people. Through them I heard about Moonlit Romance and one of the bats was also my editor. Without Laura and her unstinting patience through the many rewrites and edits of my first book I would never have been published. Not only is she a superb editor she is also a gifted writer herself and she's one of the people, along with Jess, Kimberly and my editor and agent, who's opinion of my writing I really trust. So I was especially thrilled when This appeared, as I know even though she's my friend she wouldn't say it if she didn't mean it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Last day of school

Me, Lizzie and Trisha Ashley

Me - dressed up.
Miss La breaks up today - it's her last day at her little village primary school and they are holding their traditional football and fairies event. This means the girls dress as footballers and the boys go as fairys complete with glitter and wings. It's a ton of fun and gives them all a great memory to take away with them.
Talking of memories, the lovely Lizzie Lamb took some cool pics at the RNA conference that she's given me permission to share. On one of them I almost look normal.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Schools not out

Argh, I was convinced that all the belles broke up on Friday - wrong. Miss La still has two days to do. Roll on September when for a whole lovely year they will all be at the same school. This weekend is the first time in ages that I was home, with four clear days and Mr Nell wasn't on nights so I could catch up on some much needed jobs. What happens? My stupid back goes. So I'm dosed on painkillers, hobbling around and muttering rude words under my breath everytime I look at the dustbunnies and piles of stuff that need to be moved, cleared and sorted.
Next Saturday we're off to Wales so it won't get done then either.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Handy Hints

In a weaker moment I somehow found myself being persuaded to help judge some short story contests this summer. The contests remits are very different but I have found the following issues so far to be pretty universal - here follows a public service broadcast on how not to win a short story contest or get yourself published.

1. Do not copy and paste a story from the internet complete with pictures and write your name in pen on the work.
2. Do not use a font so small that the reader needs a microscope.
3. Do not use anything other than Arial, TNR or Courier as your font.
4. Do not print your entry in bold.
5. Do not put a poem in the middle of it.
6. Do not write a covering letter explaining your story.
7. Do not write a cover letter that's longer than the short story giving me your autobiography.
8. Please give your story a title.
9. Stick to the word count.
10. Do not blame the computer for your spelling and grammar errors.
11. Do not print your entry on paper with a fancy background.
12. Do not put your story in a fancy binder.

Thank you

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Conference report pt2

Where was I? Oh yes, After Saturdays lunch came more workshops. First a round up for the New Writers Scheme, where we all look at what works and what can be made better. Most of the published writers have experienced the scheme themselves when trying for publication and know how it feels to be anxiously waiting for that precious feedback. Then came Jessica Hart's workshop on character, plot and emotional tension. If you visit here regularly you'll know I am a huge fan of Jessica's, not only is she a great writer but she really knows her stuff when it comes to sharing her expertise with other writers so it was a really useful workshop. Then I have to admit I skived the last workshop in favour of a quick chat with Jessica before she dashed off and then I had a quick shower - taking care not to fall through the damaged floor of my bathroom - and a nice lie down before the Gala Dinner.
The Gala dinner is always a highlight with everyone dressing up and photographing one anothers shoes. We did take pictures of cleavages one year but I think we'd been in the bar for a long time then. The food at dinner was a bit of a disaster - we learned later that there had been an accident to one of the kitchen staff - but the only edible part of the meal was the soup and roll we had as a starter and the mint that came with the coffee. We did contemplate sending out for pizza on our table but decided it was too late at night. Luckily Sandra Forder came to our rescue once more as it was her birthday and there was cake in her kitchen.
I made it back to my room round about midnight by which time it was raining. Biddy and Anna arrived a few minutes later. I went out into the hall when I heard mild shrieks and giggles from the upstairs landing to find Biddy - dressed in a rather lovely black bra - perched on a chair and waving a pipe from a hoover at the open skylight while Anna hung onto her legs. They managed to close the skylight to stop the rain from pouring in and we finally went to bed after we'd had a conversation about the sex appeal - or not - of the Top Gear presenters.
Sunday saw some rather sore heads in the dining room for breakfast. Next workshop was Freda Lightfoot's 'Creating a Brand', another superb workshop. Then it was Linda Gilliard on exploring all the senses when writing. I'm in two minds about that workshop. The exercises were very good but there some statements made that as someone who has clients, colleagues and friends with vision and hearing issues, troubled me a little.
This was followed by the conference round-up and lunch before the lovely Judy Jarvie gave me a ride to the station where I spent a very happy half an hour comparing bookshelves with Allie Spencer where we discovered we both loved Chaucer and PG Wodehouse.
So there you have it, the insider goss on what we did last weekend. The wonderful Liz Fenwick is giving superbly detailed accounts of all the writers tips she gleaned on her blog - link is in the sidebar.
Now to save up ready for next year - and I think I may have volunteered to deliver a workshop.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Conference report pt1

Longtime regular readers will know that I'm not the world's best at writing these. Other bloggers do a far better job when it comes to detailing workshops and who had the best shoes, but here goes!
I made it to Penrith on the sardine special - aka Virgin Trains - too many people for not enough train. I shared a cab from the station with three other lovely novellists including fabulous new Little Black Dress author and recent winner of the Joan Hessayon prize, Allie Spencer.
The campus at newton Rigg is in a gorgeous spot and the staff there are lovely. The food however and my room were another story but at any conference it's the company that counts and I had the best company.
I was chuffed to be sharing a block with Nina Harrington, new M&B romance author and my good friends, Anna Louise Lucia and Biddy Coady. I soon met up with other online friends,and we went to the panel meeting on How much is too much? with Melanie Hilton, Liz Gill, Helen Scott Taylor, Sue Moorcroft and Veronica Henry.
Ten to six found me, Biddy and Anna joining the queue outside the bar where I met the lovely Sue Rix and her hubby Graham.
Dinner was less than stellar as they ran out of food by the time we got inside so I ended up with a Cumberland sausage four tiny potatoes and some orange stuff that may once have been carrots but by then you could have used them as rubber bullets. Fortunately Sandra Forder had a stash of biscuits in her room.
Saturdays workshops were fab - really, seriously good. I went to Myra Kersner's Non fiction proposals - excellent workshop on selling, publishing, writing and promoting non fiction. This was followed by Hugo Summerson's brilliant talk on How to do public speaking really well. I really needed this one!
Then we had a plenary session with one of my favourite writers - Veronica Henry.She told us all about her scriptwriting for the Archers, Family Affairs, Crossroads, Holby, Heartbeat etc and how this has informed her novel writing. Fascinating stuff.
I'll tell you more in part 2!