Friday, January 30, 2009

Traffic lights

When did the law change that people can go over traffic lights on red? Red does still mean stop doesn't it? You know the drivers I mean, you wait in line to turn across the traffic but have to wait till the oncoming traffic obeys the red light and stops - except no - apparantly you can ignore the red signal and come across leaving the cars waiting patiently to turn stranded in the centre of the junction.
The other day I counted five cars crossing on red - why? Surely they all can't be rushing a pregnant woman about to give birth to the hospital or transporting a kidney that must reach the transplant patient within a fixed time. Where are they all going that they absolutely can't obey a traffic signal? Answers on a postcard please - or the comments.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

sun and shadow

I have a panel of material that I stick across the window of my office when the sun comes through and I can't see the computer screen. My office faces south and you all know how much I hate curtains. So a few weeks ago I couldn't read my screen so I put up the panel - ever since then it's been grey and yucky and dark. Should I take the panel down? What do think? I'm placing bets that the minute I do the sun will be out again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pictoral Inspiration

I've been looking at the pictures we took on our research trip in the summer for my inspiration while I'm working on Crystal Clear and to cheer up a grey January day here they are. This how I picture Marla's shop - The Crystal Palace, Marla and Zee's cottage is in this row and then there is the view of Brixham harbour where Drew and Zee meet quite often.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The small stuff

Today has been taken up with small things. Paying a bill that required a trip to the bank, looking for new jeans that actually came close to fitting, adding in the edits that my cp suggested for A Scattering of Leaves, writing and mailing out this quarters newsletter to my subscribers, posting up promo notices for mine and Phillipa's book launch and generally doing all kinds of stuff that needed to be done.
I can't believe we're almost at the end of January already. Outside the sky is grey and sullen but in the garden the snowdrops are beginning to peek through and the squirrel is on the fence chattering abuse at the magpies.
My brochures have arrived from the Welsh tourist board and I'm happily dreaming of some warm summer days by the sea.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And there is light!

I haven't had a working in light in my office for months. I had a three light spotlight on the ceiling but it was so old that as the bulbs went you couldn't get them out. Because my office is reached through an archway off the landing it doesn't have a door and the landing has good light so it wasn't urgent to fix the lighting. Now though I have a lovely glass and chrome halogen spotlight and it's very bright in here now.The electrician from along the street came and put it up for me and I feel all floodlit. (The pic is of my office but you can't see the light)
Yes, I do have bats on my desk, yes, that is a purple monkey hanging from my chair, and yes, of course there's coffee in that mug lol.
One and a half more chapters done on Crystal Clear - hoping to finish the other chapter today then I can edit chapter's 7 and 8 of A Scattering of Leaves and maybe start chapter nine as I will have hit my targets for this month - YAY!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bah Humbug

The meeting was a load of rubbish. The sponsor was a chap with an MBE, orange skin and Simon Cowell's teeth. He also had the politicians gift for talking absolute twaddle without directly answering a single question effectively. I think he must have talked the council into submission.
Basically when I talked to the councillor with the power to veto this whole crock of nonsense at the end of the meeting I got to what I'd already guessed was the heart of the matter.
The other school is failing and has low numbers and needs to close.
The council has no money.
The children need to be accomodated and taught elsewhere.
The council has no money.
The council needs new school buildings.
The council has no money
Central Govt won't give the council money for new buildings.
The council has no money
Central govt will give money for new buildings if council have academy
It doesn't matter that the council would save money by closing the other school that could be diverted into acomodating the children and that as school rolls across the area are dropping it's not a big problem. It doesn't matter that academy's based on the govt's own research are not the success they thought they'd be and underperform ordinary schools. It doesn't matter that parents and students alike don't feel an academy is what's right for us.
The council wants the new shiny building promised by the sponsor.
Bah Humbug!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More protesting

Tonight is the meeting with the faithbased sponsor for the proposed new academy. That should prove interesting! I, along with many other parents, have been doing my homework and so far I am not at all impressed. We'll see what the answers are to our questions.
Writing wise I completed chapter eight of A Scattering of Leaves, so now I'm back into Crystal Clear. Phillipa Ashley and I are planning a joint launch for Animal Instincts and It Should Have Been Me so if you are around the Merry Hill Centre on March 7th between 12 and 2 come and say Hi!
The picture is one Mr Nell took with his new camera at Far Forest over the weekend. Woods always feel spooky and mysterious to me and just a little scary.

Monday, January 19, 2009

End of something

Today marked the end of something special with the sad death of Tony Hart. For millions of british children he was a huge part of their childhood. A gifted artist and a great communicator he'll be sadly missed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Last night was blowing a gale and the forecast was for more of the same today. So far so good though as the wind has dropped, the sky is blue and all is still. I don't know if it will last.
We had a family of foxes drop by early this morning, three of them, trotting along the road without a care in the world. We hadn't seen them for a while but they all looked healthy and happy in the early morning sunshine, no doubt on their way to raid a dustbin or to try and catch one of the ducks that are overwintering further up the lane at the seasonal pond.
Mr Nell has taken the belles out with his new camera to snap some pics - I don't know if he'll catch any of the wildlife. I'm making the most of his absence by trying to write more of a Scattering of Leaves as later this week I'm scheduled to do two more chapters of Crystal Clear if I'm to make this months targets.
Lately I've been doing a lot of critiquing, something I love to do as I always feel I learn so much from it. I also recieved my critiques back from Kimberly on a Scattering of Leaves. That was immensely helpful and I've incorporated many of her suggestions into the story so the book is growing slowly. I'm enjoying writing both books and then yesterday I had a great idea for the starting place of the next Little Black Dress story - always a sign that things are going well.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Small squee

Go Here to read one of my short stories! Called Permanent Wave it's been published online in Samhain Publishing's magazine - The Samhellion. There are also some articles and recipes there too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Web revamp

In line with revamping this blog I've also been tidying up my website now some of my publishers have ceased to be. I still have some work to do on it but I'm slowly getting it sorted out. I've looked at all kinds of nice writerly websites for inspiration but I quite like my nice simple little site. What do you all like to see on a writers website? and most importantly what don't you like?
My personal dislikes are music - it makes me jump and if I don't like the authors taste in music I assume I'm not going to like their books - which is pretty daft but no one said I had to be rational. I also hate dark backgrounds and light text - I'm old and crabby and the eyes aren't what they used to be.
So, how about it - what would you like to see or not see on a writers website?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Last night I attended a meeting to allegedly consult with parents and other interested parties proposals to merge the belle's school with another school. The other school, unlike the belle's school is a failing school and our council lured by the thought of sparkly new buildings are planning to sell all the kids down the river by opting for an academy backed by a faithbased sponsor.
It doesn't seem to register that the schools would be on a split site for years, or that all the best teachers are planning to leave if this goes ahead, or that academy's, by the Govt's own independent commissioners, are known to have a poorer academic record than 'ordinary' schools, or that we have serious concerns over what a faithbased organisation would want to impose on the school, or that they plan to start it all in September! and that this was the first meeting.
Oh, and did I mention said, faithbased sponsor have had such a howling success in Southampton with an academy there that the principal and nineteen teachers quit in a three month period and the pupils rioted in the school?
Hmm, methinks they had better think again because they are in for a fight.

Monday, January 12, 2009


GO HERE for details of a wonderful new anthology to celebrate 50 years of the Romantic Novelist's Association. Published by MIRA it's due out in hardback this autumn and paperback in Feb 2010.
My bit of the news is that alongside such stellar names as Adele Parks, Sophie Weston, Rosie Harris, and tons of other people is me!
My fun story is called Wishing For George - this is the one with Muriel the car park fairy. I first wrote it a few years ago as an exercise for my local writers group when we were set the challenge of writing a modern fairy story. I tweaked and polished and scrubbed it up and I'm so excited and honoured to be included in such a lovely book. I can't wait to read all the other stories.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Today is the eldest belle's birthday - she'll be 15. As part of her birthday treat we're going to see John Barrowman in Panto tonight at the Hippodrome. This year it's Robin Hood. She has a Thorntons birthday cake and is very delighted with all her presents. Clothes from her favourite shops and a new austrian crystal dog for her collection.
I can't quite believe I have a daughter this age - already she's talking about when she leaves school next year and driving lessons are only two years away. I am so not ready for this.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cyber hand holding

I love my network of writing friends - some of them I've never met in real life as we are geographically so far away but knowing they are there is so wonderful. A Scattering of Leaves - well the first thirdish of the book - has just gone to my agent for her opinion. It's a story I'm loving writing but because it's different from my other work I've been really nervous about my ability to pull it off.
This is where my lovely friends are so terrific, Kimberly, my new cp, in Italy,who is a very talented writer herself, Lis, my fabulous beta reader and friend in Canada, Laura, my former editor and great friend in the US and of course Jess - all of whom give me sensible advice and help me to tell the wood from the trees.
So, while I'm waiting for the verdict I'm cracking on with Crystal Clear and I'm moving on with A Scattering of Leaves. I'm on target so far despite my family's best efforts this week to stop me from writing anything by constantly squabbling and interrupting while I'm working. I need a door for my office.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Back in the human race

I got my hair cut today and my highlights redone so now I'm blonde again. Finished another chapter on Crystal Clear and started on the next one. Very satisfying to see my word count beginning to creep up again. I'm still working on A Scattering of Leaves, polishing at the moment but I plan to get cracking on a new chapter soon. I've been fortunate enough to have some good input from a couple of writing friends and it's all coming together a bit more now.
The plumber has just fixed my leaky dishwasher pipe under my sink and plumbed in my new kitchen taps so now they don't drip any more - hooray! I've had ones with the knock down and knock up switches on so Mr Nell doesn't have to twist them. They look very smart.
One of my colleagues told me I looked svelte yesterday - so it looks as if my sacrifice of the custard creams is working.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

One week

Into the New Year and it's going well. I'm sticking to my healthy eating and although I haven't weighed myself (that would depress me) judging by my clothes, I'd say the weight was starting to move. What matters more is that I feel better. Writing wise I was on target until the last couple of days when the day job kicked in but that's okay as I expected that and I still kept up with all my organizational things that I intended to do.
All in all my first week has gone well.
So, how was it for you?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Good Stuff!

I'm determined that 2009 will be a good year despite the nay sayers and so far so good at least on some fronts. Congratulations to the RNA romance prize nominee's. These were announced today and include Kate Hardy, Fiona Harper, India Grey, Jessica Hart and Little Black Dresses Lucy Broadbent and Robert Hale's Beth Elliot.
Winning the RNA prize literally changed my life so it's exciting to see the new list.
Other good news today included getting my PLR statement for library lending. Yay! I love libraries and always try to support them.
My other really big and exciting news is something I don't think I'm allowed to talk about yet but it made me squee with excitement when I heard the news. I promise as soon as I can spill the beans I will. He he I love being a tease!

Monday, January 05, 2009


We woke up this morning to two inches of snow. Miss la had to don her wellies to head off for school. The other two aren't back till tomorrow and had a shopping trip planned. Miss Boo has now spent her Christmas and birthday loot on an ipod nano and docking station. Miss shaggy is waioting till after her birthday on Sunday to decide what to spend her cash on. I spent my money too - I was intending to spend it in M&S, I wanted jeans, work trousers, tops etc but after looking through the racks a chat with the staff confirmed my suspicions. You can be tall and thin or short and fat but you can't be short and thin or tall and fat. They have cut back the size options on the ends of their clothing ranges so my chances of getting any new trousers that looked as if they hadn't fallen out with my ankles was precisely nil.
Fortunately the sale was still on in Jacques Vert so I now have a very beautiful black suit (see pic) and a gorgeous top. I think I'll have to give up on the jeans for yet another year unless I manage to stick with my weight loss plan.
It's been two days - why aren't I thin already?

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Well, the tree is down and all the indoor decs out away. Just the door wreath and Santa signs to move but as it's snowing right now they can wait till tomorrow. The house always looks so big when everything is put away but everything is so dusty! I need to wash all my cut glass vases again and repolish all the furniture that I beeswaxed before christmas.
I suddenly realised that March 5th will be here sooner than I thought and with it the release of Animal Instincts. So, I changed all my pics so I can admire my beautimous cover and it'll remind me to get a move on writing Crystal Clear. Incidentally there are great preorder offers on at Amazon UK and on Animal Instincts if you have Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket lol.
I've addited over 2k to A Scattering of Leaves and I'm ready to move onto the middle third of the story now. This month is going to be fingers to the keyboard and write like the wind on both books.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Wired for sound

The last few days I've had a really annoying song playing in my head. My friend, Laura, calls them earworms. Usually they relate to something I'm writing or are songs I quite like but this one I can't figure out. I've been polishing up A Scattering of Leaves ready to write the next section so why I keep hearing Cliff Richards singing Wired for Sound in my head I have no clue.
Mr Nell says I shouldn't tell people what goes on in my head - he reckons it's a dark and scary place. With Cliff warbling away in it it's scary alright _ I must play my Nickelback album that I got for Christmas and see if I can dislodge him.