Monday, March 31, 2008

publication day…

Current work: Med duo 2/nonfiction
Listening to: Karine Polwart
Reading: Rachel Hore, The Memory Garden (finished it last night and enjoyed it very much – I have a very soft spot for stories where the past echoes down to the present)

Enjoyed Enchanted very much last week. Obviously it’s aimed at children (as a romantic novelist, there were several holes that I felt needed filling in) but the music was great, the acting was great, and I loved the premise: what happens if one of these nicey-nicey animated princesses falls into real life? (Kind of the reverse of Roger Rabbit, where real life ends up in Toon Town.) There were lots of places where I laughed my head off (the dress from curtains and the ‘happy working song’ being key here, not to mention Prince Edward acting exactly like a fairytale prince, complete with enormous shoulders – fabulous stuff), a couple of ‘ahhh’ moments, and Susan Sarandon must have had such fun playing the baddie.

This week is officially publication week; however, when I went into town on Friday I saw my new book on the shelves.
So it’s a nice start to the week. Plus (touching wood in case I jinx it) I seem to have my writing groove back, for which I am very, very, VERY grateful. Today I’m off to meet a puppy (i.e. lunch at my local best friend’s). And daughter wants to know: if you have more than one wobbly tooth and you end up losing two teeth at once, does the tooth fairy pay more than usual per tooth? (I have a trainee shark here, don’t I?)

Friday, March 28, 2008

what’s in a name?

Current work: Med duo 2/nonfiction
Listening to: Karine Polwart
Reading: Rachel Hore, The Memory Garden

Interesting report on people’s perception of names in terms of success, attractiveness and luck by psychologist Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire. I quote:

"Attractive female names tended to be soft-sounding and end with the 'ee' sound, whereas the sexiest male names are short and much harder sounding," he said, adding that names with royal links are seen as successful or clever.

Top five most attractive female names are Sophie, Rachel, Olivia, Karen and Katie; top five male names are Ryan, James, Jack, Chris, Michael. (Limited sample, though – they had to pick from 20 pre-selected names.)

See more here

So which male and female name do you find most attractive? My current hero and heroine are Katrina and Rhys - neither of which really fit. (Of the list above, have only used the top two female and the third male - can't really use the fourth as is son's name and it would feel very awkward to use his name as a hero.)

Plan for today: bit more of book, then into city with kids to see Enchanted. (Also have minor admin stuff to do today and I think my new book might be on the shelves in Smith’s, so will be taking the camera with me because I’m sad enough to be excited about publication day... despite this being my 30th M&B.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

the wonders of chocolate…

Current work: Med duo 2/nonfiction
Listening to: Karine Polwart
Reading: about to pick something from my TBR shelf

It’s school holidays, which means I can’t really do that much work during the day. Son is fine because he’s studying Aardman films and has his nose in an animation book (not to mention plasticine models appearing all over the house). Daughter isn’t quite so self-contained, as she’s younger, bless her. So yesterday she wheedled me into doing some baking after the weekly shop arrived. We made cakes.
She did the brownies all by herself (I helped crack the first egg, and put the tin in the oven/removed it) and they were very scrummy…

Other than that, some Dutch translations arrived yesterday – ‘Espresso en amore’ (aka Giovanni). Sophisticated cover (though he doesn’t look Italian. I think I need Antonio Banderas as a cover model...). Also had highly gratifying phone call from local BBC radio station saying they loved my latest romance and they want me in again soon for a chat. Weeks like this, I really feel I’m getting somewhere.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hold the Front Page…

Current work: Med duo 2/nonfiction
Listening to: Bryan Adams
Reading: about to pick something from my TBR shelf

So there I was, sneaking in some work yesterday morning. Phone rings. Is gorgeous husband. ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were going to be on the front page?’ Eh? Which front page would that be? ‘EDP. You’re on the front page.’ Me? On the front page? ‘A picture of you on a big banner for 100 years of romance. And a double page spread inside.’ Oh-h-h. (Sinks in. Is my interview from the other week. And I’m on the front page? Squeak a bit. Then remember interview. Um. Read it yet?) DH gives pained sigh. ‘No, but I’ve had emails about my lovely blue eyes…’ I stand by my words. He is gorgeous. And my idea of the perfect hero. (Am digging self into hole, here. But DH agrees to pick up copies on way home so I can send cutting to my lovely agent, editor, RNA press officer and M&B’s PR agency.)

Mobile phone beeps. Is my cousin (bridegroom) on behalf of wedding party. They’re having breakfast and have all seen the paper. ‘You’re on the front page! Nice interview.’ (Little happy wiggle from me. Text back.)

I’m on the front page. Wow. Admittedly as a trailer for a story but it’s still the FRONT PAGE. Of the biggest-selling local paper in the UK. How cool is that?

Anyway, it was a lovely interview (thanks to Emma Lee for giving romance novels (and me) such a fab write-up). I was also delighted to see a tribute to Anne Weale in the same section – she wrote for the EDP way back when, and I can remember reading and enjoying her romances on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea as a teenager. She’s very much missed in the romance community.

Kids took a look and brought me back down to earth. Son: ‘That has to be an old pic. Your desk hasn’t been that tidy for AGES. There’s loads of junk on it.’ (He vanished when I suggested helping me tidy it…)

Also on the front page was a story about the closure of rural post offices in Norfolk. Sorry, I need to have a rant here. Last year, officials said that 40 or so would go. They’re actually planning to cut 70. There is apparently a six-week public consultation, and I for one will be registering my protest. In rural areas, post offices are a lifeline and it’s more than about just economics. Yes, I can see that if they’re not making money, something has to give – but there needs to be some kind of alternative. It’s about the heart of community life, about giving access to the elderly and vulnerable who do not have transport (and that’s another big issue – in rural areas, there just isn’t a network of railways and buses and tube stations. It’s car or nothing). When will this government start to think of the needs of the non-London, non-urban population?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

White wedding

It most certainly was! We went to the rehearsal on Sunday and it snowed a bit (as you can see here from the pic of the church at Acle – not only is it a round-tower church, which is pretty much unique to Norfolk and Suffolk, but it has an octagonal top, which is even rarer).

Sunday evening was spent doing girly stuff, i.e. plaiting of hair with mousse so the flower girl’s hair would look fabulous on the day, and painting of nails etc. Monday, woke up to even more snow (strange coincidence that both my cousins – my page boy and bridesmaid – were born on a snowy day AND married on a snowy day).

The service was lovely – candles and roses and delicate ribbons really brought out the warmth of the church. The bridegroom had a smile a mile wide, and the bride looked stunning. The snow eased up a little during the ceremony – but returned with a vengeance when the service was over, so we barely needed the confetti! (This pic was actually taken at the reception - where the guests were happily toasting themselves in front of real fires while the bride and bridegroom were having, um, atmospheric shots in the snow...)

Then it was the reception – fabulous food (I had pepper terrine followed by salmon and then strawberries), the most gorgeous cake (covered in white chocolate quills – looked stunning), great speeches, and a chance to catch up with family I only really see at weddings and christenings.

At the evening reception, there was a chocolate fountain, and needless to say my two were desperate to try it.

They also strutted their funky stuff – son went into complete John Travolta mode (er… where and when did he learn to dance?) and twirled Madam round the room. And then all the kids discovered a stage at the end of the dance floor, and strutted their stuff there – it certainly made the adults get up on the dance floor because they wanted to see the show!

Fabulous, fabulous day, full of smiles (and a few happy tears at the wedding). Congratulations to Lee and Lucy, and every happiness for the future. I think the flower girl says it all here: cheers!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

Current work: Med duo 2/nonfiction/articles
Listening to: Bryan Adams
Reading: Milly Johnson, The Birds and the Bees (and am enjoying it very much)

Happy Easter! Early this year (the last time it was this date was 1913; the earliest Easter day can possibly be is 22 March - the last time being 1818, so there’s something interesting for you). Am really, really hoping that the threatened snow stays away because my cousin’s getting married on Monday.

Some more excellent news: my cousin-to-be passed her exams and is now a qualified doctor. Go, Lucy!

Dad and my stepmum came over for lunch yesterday – and he was having a good day. Moments like this are going to become rarer, so this was one to treasure. Madam played a bit of guitar, then bullied me into accompanying her on piano so she could sing ‘Lord of the Dance’ (her choir song). Sadly her guitar teacher has given up, but she says she’ll wait until starting her next school in September and putting her name down for lessons then.

There is still a pile of chocolate eggs in my study. However, they do not belong to me. The Easter Bunny took me at my word when I said ‘no chocolate for me, this year’ – and even though I know this was the sensible thing to do (will have to brave scales next week – after the wedding rather than before) there’s a little bit of me with a wobbly bottom lip. (However, I brought the children up to share so am sure I will get a smidgen!)

It’s officially school holidays for the next fortnight. I have a hideous schedule – but I’m hoping I can remember how I managed to be Superwoman two years back and will pull this one off…

Thursday, March 20, 2008

and some even more excellent news

Current work: Med duo 2/nonfiction/articles
Listening to: Karine Polwart, Scribbled In Chalk and Faultlines (really enjoying both, but at the moment the first two tracks of ‘Scribbled in Chalk’ are winning as they’re just superb)
Reading: didn’t have time last night but I will start Milly’s book soon

My wonderful ed emailed me last night to say she loved the revisions. So I’m delighted to say that The Greek Doctor’s New Year Baby (my 25th Medical Romance – and my 33rd M&B) will be out in January.

Caught a very good documentary last night on BBC4 re Steptoe and Son. Jason Isaacs did a fabulous job - in the longer shots I had to look twice to check they weren't using archive film. He really did get under the skin of Harry H. Corbett. And my heart bled for Corbett, especially during the scene from 'On the Waterfront' - although it was part of the Steptoe series, you could really see how it reflected his own life. Desperately sad. And poor Brambell, being gay in an era with no tolerance.

Will spare you the rant on tolerance. In my view, it shouldn't matter what someone's sexuality, gender, colour or religion is: it's how they treat others that counts. Do as you would be done by - there's an awful lot to be said for that.

Plan for today: attend daughter’s Easter assembly (her last one at that school – so it’ll be bittersweet. I'll have a proud mummy moment because she's singing in the choir; but I always find Easter terribly sad), work, pick kids up, maybe do a teensy bit of shopping…

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

some excellent news

Current work: Med duo 2/nonfiction/articles
Listening to: Karine Polwart, Scribbled In Chalk and Faultlines (really enjoying both, but at the moment the first two tracks of ‘Scribbled in Chalk’ are winning as they’re just superb)
Reading: next on TBR is probably my mate Milly Johnson's new one, 'The Birds and the Bees'

Good day yesterday. Guitar lesson in the morning; played atrociously as hadn’t had time to pick up guitar for weeks. Haven’t had a piano lesson this year, either. My current aim is to get my life back into balance for the end of April. As for the stuff that I can’t fix: I need to appreciate that it’s OK for me not to be able to do everything. Several people have already mentioned this to me; however, as I’m by nature a person who sorts things out for others, it’s a concept I’m having great trouble understanding emotionally (i.e. I know it intellectually, but I don’t feel it).

The ducks and swans round here are having a wonderful time at the moment; the river has burst its banks, as usual, so the fields are currently indistinguishable from the river. When the sun comes out, it’s really pretty. (Am doing a major anti-snow, anti-hail dance here for my cousin’s wedding on Monday.)

Some excellent news: my ed at Breedon likes my new proposal so we’re going ahead with the new book. Just need to check if I can have pics and an index. The kids and I are going to have lots of fun exploring this summer, though when I’ve done my location list I’ll run it by DH to see if there are any he wants to do with us. Will thoroughly enjoy the research on this one; best of all, it will keep me sane for the next few months because I can just escape into it when things go sticky (sadly, I do mean when rather than if – this is realism rather than pessimism. It’s a matter of finding a coping mechanism for the difficult days. I’m just very glad I have a wonderful, understanding husband).

Oh, and today’s link: Karine Polwart’s MySpace page – on the music section, scroll down to ‘Hole in the Heart’, select and enjoy. It’s gorgeous and might just end up being the song for the current book.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

still busybusy

Current work: Med duo 2/nonfiction/articles
Listening to: Karine Polwart, Scribbled In Chalk (just lovely)
Reading: the Paston letters (research, but feels more like pleasure!)

Spent yesterday researching more than anything else. Found what I was looking for on Gresham, but I could do with more on Burgh. Guitar this morning; Madam’s swimming lesson (last of the term) after school; and in between, am writing! (Anyone got a time machine?)

Monday, March 17, 2008


Current work: Med duo 2
Listening to: Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Bach
Reading: Neil Gaiman, American Gods (very interesting read – good pace,too)

Finished the revisions this weekend. Back to the other two books which are both on deadline… Nothing exciting of my own to add so here’s a link to something I found at Shirley’s blog and which amused me greatly (dogs would never, never do this):

And the winner of Sold to the Highest Bidder, picked out of the hat, is Ann M (platypus facts!). Ann, please email me ( kate(at) katehardy(dot)com – replacing the bits in brackets with the symbols) with your snailmail addy and I’ll get the book in the post.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

lovely review

Current work: revisions (nearly, nearly, NEARLY done – I ripped out more than I thought!)
Listening to: Sheryl Crow
Reading: Judith Lennox, A Step in the Dark (finished last night - enjoyed it very much)

Lovely review from Cataromance for Sold to the Highest Bidder (Thanks, Julie Bonello, for making my day) :

Jack Goddard is definitely interested in buying Allingford Hall – and he’s even more interested in Alicia! Smart, funny, and sexy, Jack hasn’t been this attracted to a woman since his ex-wife broke his heart. However, the two immediately get off on the wrong foot for Alicia is appalled when she hears Jack’s plans for her beloved house: he wants to use the grounds of the Hall for rock concerts and thus destroy the beautiful land which surrounds the estate!

But Alicia’s shock soon gives way to a sizzling attraction when she realizes that she finds Jack absolutely irresistible. Jack may be seven years younger than her, but his charisma and drop dead gorgeous looks make her go weak at the knees. Alicia knows that she should resist his advances, and not act on the powerful flame of attraction which throbs between the two of them, but when a passionate kiss leads to a steamy night of passion, Alicia realizes that she’s in danger of falling head over heels in love with a man who has made it quite clear that he doesn’t do commitment!

When Jack seduced Alicia, he thought that theirs would simply be a no-strings affair – he certainly never thought that he would develop feelings for her! Has the perennial playboy decided to settle down? And will Alicia consent to becoming his partner both in and out of the bedroom? Or will she allow her doubts and fears to get in the way of her future happiness?

Kate Hardy is an amazingly prolific writer who always delivers fast-paced, entertaining and feel-good romances! In her latest Modern Heat, Sold to the Highest Bidder! Kate Hardy has written a poignant and emotional page-turner that will tug at her readers’ heartstrings and leave them breathless as they fall in love with the deliciously sexy Jack and the earnest and lovely Alicia.

Warm-hearted, sensuous and wonderfully romantic, Sold to the Highest Bidder! is a splendid romantic tale by the hugely talented and always fabulous Kate Hardy!

Thanks again, Julie: it's always good to know when people enjoy my books.

Plan for today: library, interview with the Eastern Daily Press, library, home to finish revisions, school run, revisions. I am determined to finish the book today. Funny how what at first seems like a small tweak changes all the dynamics. I've ripped a good 10k out of this one so far.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

making my own sunshine

Current work: revisions (yeah, still - I'm finding it hard to work at the moment)
Listening to: Sheryl Crow
Reading: Judith Lennox, A Step in the Dark (one of her beautifully drawn multi-generational novels)

Thanks to everyone who’s emailed me interesting stuff or jokes to keep me sane. Really appreciated. Please keep them coming – it’ll put you in the draw to win a signed copy of Sold to the Highest Bidder. (There’s also one up for grabs at Love is the Best Medicine, along with a copy of The Doctor's Royal Love-Child … and I’m talking about food (aka something you see a lot in my books) over at eharlequin).

Life is still fraught (and I am so glad I have such a wonderful, supportive husband), so I’m making my own sunshine right now. It’d be wonderful if it could also calm down the gales we have around here… the wind in the trees is so noisy I can even hear it without the hearing aid).

And how am I making said sunshine? Anyone who guessed ‘music’ would be spot on. Sadly YouTube didn’t have ‘Rise Up’ (my fave track on the new Sheryl Crow album) but this is a close second – a George Harrison song I like very much, and it’s a rather nice version by Sheryl Crow. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

interesting stuff

Current work: revisions
Listening to: Kathryn Williams and Neill MacColl, Two (still enjoying it hugely)
Reading: Judith Lennox, A Step in the Dark (one of her beautifully drawn multi-generational novels)

Real life is, um, rather difficult at the moment and I’m not whining about it here – instead I’m going to give you something interesting to read during your next coffee break. I had a really interesting email from a friend today (waves to Michelle - thank you) with the kind of nerdy facts that fascinate me – things such as the milk of young coconuts being used as blood plasma, and a duck’s quack doesn’t echo.

All lightbulb stuff for me, but how true are they? Find out (along with all the other interesting facts) here.

Remember I’m still looking for things to make me smile. Tell me a joke here (or something nerdy and interesting – yes, I do watch QI and enjoy it thoroughly, not least for the fabulous Stephen Fry; DH usually fishes me out of my office when he discovers it's on) and I’ll add you in the draw to win a signed copy of Sold to the Highest Bidder.

And please come and see me at eharlequin and Love is the Best Medicine!

Monday, March 10, 2008

battening down the hatches

Current work: revisions (real life got in the way this weekend)
Listening to: Kathryn Williams and Neill MacColl, Two (still enjoying it hugely)
Reading: Judith Lennox, A Step in the Dark (one of her beautifully drawn multi-generational novels)

Meant to be gales today. It’s quite windy outside. Hope the electricity doesn’t go off – I know I could cuddle up with the dog and a torch and read, but I really need to get my head into work mode today. We have candles on standby. Did two sets of proofs over the weekend (am pleased with both) but actual creative stuff didn’t happen (Dad’s not well, and that’s all I will say on the subject - and that Parkinson's is a very cruel disease and sadly it's rather more than just a tremor in the hands). Still have my hacking cough, so it's just as well I didn’t buy tickets to see Karine Polwart tomorrow night. I’ll see how my throat is tomorrow evening before I decide whether to go; I don’t want to spoil it for other people by coughing all the way through it.

Am talking at eharl later today, so I’ll post the link here when it’s live – come and talk to me about the appeal of Mediterranean men! (And if anyone has heard a good joke recently, I could do with a smile right now. Feel free to post. Best one by the end of the week gets a copy of Sold to the Highest Bidder.)

Edit: the link to eharlequin is now live. Come and say hello!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Blogging and birthdays

I'm over at the medical romance authors' joint blog today, Love is the Best Medicine, talking about dreams coming true - so do go over and leave a comment, as you'll get a chance to win a copy of The Doctor's Royal Love-Child AND a copy of Breakfast at Giovanni's.

Birthdays? It's Diane's, so go over and wish her a lovely day.

Friday, March 07, 2008

spring is sprung?

Current work: revisions
Listening to: Kathryn William and Neill MacColl, Two (excellent and am very pleased I bought this – her voice is gorgeous and the guitar playing is fabulous, and I really like her songs – the way she has this lovely sweet melody and yet the words are very, very sharp)
Reading: Liz Fielding, His Runaway Bride (best kind of comfort read – liked the premise, liked the characters, sparkling dialogue as always, secondaries who definitely needed their own stories… vintage Liz, i.e. a great treat)

I was going to be all chirpy this morning (despite feeling like a zombie, thanks to the cough keeping me awake) and talk about how spring is definitely coming here – there’s blossom on the trees, the hedgerows are starting to green up, and my spring bulbs are out.

However, there’s meant to be a huge storm this weekend – very high winds on Sunday night. I do hope the weather forecasters have got it wrong. But, just in case, time to batten down the hatches. (And also get on with my revisions. I have two sets of proofs to do, too. And some other stuff. Time to get my brain into gear.)

I’ll be blogging at Love is the Best Medicine (i.e. the Medical authors’ joint blog) on Sunday, and on Monday do drop in to e-harlequin as they’re throwing a celebration for Breakfast at Giovanni’s (aka In Bed With Her Italian Boss). I’ll be talking about heroes and fantasies and all sorts of things, so this is your chance to ask questions and get answers. (Will put the link here on Monday so it’s easy to find.) In the meantime, I’m still at Jessica Hart's blog – come and join the discussion there!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

settling down again

Current work: revisions
Listening to: Sheryl Crow, Detours
Reading: various nonfiction

Sometimes it’s really hard to settle to work. I’m having a few days like this at the moment – fretting partly because son was away and partly because my dad’s not too good at the moment. (Not blogging about that out of respect to him: suffice to say that it’s pretty upsetting.) And partly because I didn’t give myself enough time to get over the lurgy and it’s dragging on a tad. I did have some days off. It should have GONE by now, but my hacking cough is back. (And yes, I’ve been nagged about it.)

I’m a bit cross with myself for being less professional than usual. There’s no reason why I can’t just sit down and do what I’m supposed to.

I did, however, while checking something else, discover that Sold to the Highest Bidder was listed in Amazon’s top ten ‘Hot New Releases’ in their romance section. Obviously not right at this second, because it changes from hour to hour. But it was rather heartwarming. Even more so when I discovered it was at #2 last week. (Crows, would you please flap off? Maybe I’d better go and polish my rosebowl, and use the special cloth to shoo them away.)

Met son from school and he’d had a WONDERFUL time. He needs a bath. The entire contents of his suitcase are wet and muddy. But he has this huge grin on his face and he’s overcome his fear of heights. He had great delight in describing all these difficult things he’d done, and his pride in his achievements brought a lump to my throat. He’d also bought his sister a pressie from the tuck shop: a little fluffy seal. She was delighted. And even more delighted to see him. (Not as pleased as I am. He had a good time and he’s in one piece – and when one of his friends was finding one of the tasks difficult, he helped his friend. I am very, very proud of him.)

Now I can go back to work, happy again. Well, work-ish. I have a radio interview this evening. And I’m in dire need of sleep. Just can’t face coffee.

I’m still over at Jessica Hart's blog and it’s a really interesting discussion - voice, the difference between the lines, defining fantasy and emotional reads. Do hop over and join in!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Voice - and writing for two lines

Want to know my thoughts on this? Then nip over to Jessica Hart's blog. I'm guesting there this week, as part of her year celebrating FIFTY books (huge achievement - Kate Walker did it last year and Liz Fielding is also doing it this year... am guesting with Liz later but I tidied my desk and I've lost my bit of paper reminding me when I'm going over to hers, arrrgh).

We're talking about voice, and whether your voice differs if you write for more than one line. Come over and join the discussion because I'd love to know what readers and other writers think. I thought I knew what I believed... but I ended up having to revise my view!

…the tough go shopping

Current work: revisions
Listening to: Katie Melua
Reading: next up on my TBR pile

Daughter did the ‘Mummy, I don’t feel well…’ bit yesterday morning, but when I found her giggling in the kitchen while her brother was getting her a glass of milk, I sent her back upstairs to change into her school clothes. Which meant a day of work. Good.

Bit hard to settle, though. Son is back from his trip tomorrow. But it feels weird, weird, weird without him around. So I had a mini-CD bender to cheer myself up. (Birthday money – the stuff that’s meant to be going towards my painting, but I’ll sort that when I have time to look through galleries in Holt or what have you.) Bought Sheryl Crow’s new one and the new one by Kathryn Williams and Neill MacColl. When I’d ordered the CDs Amazon gave me a recommendation; for once, I followed it through to YouTube. Wow. If you like Kate Rusby/Kathryn Williams/folk with a bit of an edge, try Karine Polwart. Gorgeous voice. HOW has she slipped under my radar? Her new album comes out next week and another (with a song I REALLY like on it) is also being re-released, so they’re in the bag.

Correction. While writing this and looking up a couple of things on the net (hey, I always do two things at once – and I was going to book my ticket to see Kathryn Williams next month), I’ve just discovered she’s at the Arts Centre next Tuesday. It’s a shame that none of my friends who like this kind of music live locally, so I’ll be going on me tod. And I’ll buy the CDs on the night.

Oh, and the song I like so much? This could be my theme tune. Enjoy.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Belated happy mother's day

Current work: revisions (depends how daughter feels today)
Listening to: Katie Melua
Reading: next up on my TBR pile

Nice weekend, though I didn’t get much done. Friday, spent most of the day sleeping; Saturday, went out to get last-minute bits for son ready for today - and I'd almost forgotten what week it was. Publication week. So this is what I spotted on the shelves. Sold to the Highest Bidder is out now...

In the afternoon, went to see my stepmum to give her flowers and Mother's Day cards, and to put some flowers on my mum’s grave. Dad’s not too good at the mo but am not blogging about it, in fairness to him.

It was Mothering Sunday yesterday, so I’d promised not to work and we went out for the day. (Had gorgeous flowers and the new Katie Melua album from the kids.) I had some pics I needed to take for the current nonfiction, so as it was a sunny day DH was pretty indulgent. ‘This is another lump of masonry, isn’t it?’ No, it’s a whole arch. (In the middle of lots of geese!) It also involved a few tiny churches. He’s really good-natured about my trainspotter tendencies.

Then, as promised, we went to the beach. I love the way the seagulls sit on the sea defences, looking down and waiting for someone on the beach below to drop a chip. Definitely blew some of the cobwebs out (as you can see from the waves).

Son is off on his first residential school trip today. School said he needed a ‘small’ suitcase… then proceeded to list all the things he needed, which would NOT fit in a small suitcase. It’s one of these ‘outdoor bound’ places and the kids are going to get wet and muddy, therefore need a change of clothes as well as their outdoor ones; then there’s the sleeping bag and the wellies and… and… and… He’s going to have a great time but this is the first time he’s been away from home without us, so I’m going to be immensely fidgety. (Woke up from a nightmare this morning and could NOT go back to sleep.)

Madam looked very pale and unwell last night, so she might end up staying home today. Which rather puts the dampener on my plans to sort revisions, but hey. Better to be ill now than in three weeks’ time when she’ll be flower girl at my cousin’s wedding.