Thursday, September 30, 2010

where’s the week going?

Current work: Capri medical romance/ special project for M&B
Listening to: Daughtry (first album)
Reading: next on TBR

Time seems to be whizzing by at a rather frightening rate. I’m sort of settling down to work – more so since lovely editor called yesterday to ask me to work on something. (Not third revisions. Keep your fingers crossed for me as I really, really don’t want that.) Can’t talk about the project, but I’m enjoying it and it was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up – even though I’m behind with my work, I’m busy and I’m still a bit stressed over the situation last week. It’s good to have something nice happen. (Hopefully That Situation has calmed down a bit now, though I’m still keeping an eye on things.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

free books

Current work: Capri medical romance
Listening to: Daughtry (first album)
Reading: next on TBR

It’s Tuesday afternoon already? Ouch. I need to be head down and stuck in to the book as I lost a fair bit of ground last week (and this week so far has, um, been more of the same). I really hate chasing my tail the whole time instead of being uber-organised and full of energy, but that’s the way life is right now. A really tempting opportunity came my way yesterday (going back to being a school governor) but, as DH pointed out, I’m already overloaded and taking on more work is not sensible. Kids agreed. And I guess they’re right.

Anyway. Right now my head is elsewhere. So, instead of writing a proper blog, I’ll give you a link to a site with free e-books (legitimate, NOT pirated – take the rant as read) from Mills & Boon. Enjoy :o)

Monday, September 27, 2010

congrats to the top ten New Voices - and to all the entrants

As I prefer things on my blog to be on a happy note, I’d like to say congrats to the top ten contestants on the New Voices site – well done to you all, and good luck in the next round! You can read more about it over here on the M&B New Voices Website.

And those who didn’t make it? I do feel for you because disappointment is always hard. I watched the X Factor with the children last night, and seeing the faces of those who didn’t get through made me want to go and give them all a hug. So consider yourself hugged, too.

The important thing is, you tried – you didn’t sit there saying, ‘Oh, I wish I could…’ and then did nothing. You put the work in and you made the effort – and that’s definitely something to be proud of.

Now you go on to the next step. Just as, last night, some of them were saying that singing was all they wanted to do: if writing’s all you’ve ever wanted to do, don’t give up. Look at the feedback you had, and see what you can learn from it to improve your writing. Keep reading a lot. Keep practising your craft (and maybe get a critique partner – maybe one of the other contestants?) and take your writing forward.

Remember that rejection slips aren’t personal – they’re a chance to improve your skillset, because they tell you what you need to work on. Spend a day being upset, then do a self-appraisal: look at where you are now, where you want to be, and what you need to do to get there. Break that list down into manageable steps (aka SMART objectives – specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timed) and then you’ll have a structure to help you towards that dream.

Good luck!

back from being awol

Current work: Capri medical romance
Listening to: Daughtry
Reading: next on TBR

Apols for going AWOL, last week (and sorry for worrying people - I've appreciated the emails). I was trying to sort out some sticky stuff – not blogging about it but I’m beginning to feel like Macbeth. (As in ‘shall sleep no more’; I haven’t committed regicide! I just don't sleep well when I'm worrying.)

As I’m taking a sabbatical from nonfic, this year, I don’t even have my safety-valve of research. So I took comfort in – wait for it – doing my accounts. Yes, really. This is where I’m glad I did let things slip last year and did the shoebox method – which a lot of authors I know do – instead of updating it every week and staying on top of things. Sorting out receipts and indexing them is incredibly soothing. (OK, so we all know I’m weird. My accountant thought it was hilarious, too.)

Weekend was nice. Saturday was a bit lazy (aka finishing off my accounts), and on Sunday DH went to Silverstone to see the bike racing and the kids and I went into town, had lunch in M&S and then bought the Simpsons version of Monopoly. We played all afternoon (actually managed to prise son off the X-box, and it was lovely to spend time together). As usual, tycoon daughter beat us all; she bought the equivalent of Park Lane and Mayfair, and stuck hotels on them. The bank-and-credit-card contraption does make playing easier, with no money cluttering up surfaces, but I was too sleep-deprived to work out how we could continue to use the ‘Free Parking’ rule (where all fines go in the middle rather than to the bank, and if you land on Free Parking you scoop the proceeds). D’oh. Obvious, this morning: sticky note and pen job :o)

I’m also doing a talk at daughter’s school for Book Week, next week. She’s asked me to bring in some of my foreign editions, as she thinks everyone would be really interested to see books in different alphabets. Should be fun, as it’s a nice school and the kids are really responsive.

And I’m really hoping that this week is much quieter than last.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

lovely review

Current work: Capri medical romance
Listening to: Athlete. Black Swan
Reading: (I’m supposed to be working, not reading, but I have Sarah Morgan’s ‘Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc?’ on my desk… and it’s too good to put down)

So, not only am I thrilled about my book cover appearing in The Sun online (and amused that when I went to look at it, I got the Radley handbags ad – serendipity or what?) – I also get a lovely email from Julie Bonello, with her review of Red Wine and Her Sexy Ex at Cataromance. And she gave me 4.5 stars :o)

This is what she says about it:

Red Wine and Her Sexy Ex is another first class romance from the wonderful Kate Hardy! The talented award-winning storyteller writes with such flair and panache that readers will feel as if they are in the South of France falling in love with devastatingly attractive Xavier and richly nuanced Allie!

Redolent with breathtaking romance, spectacular emotional punch, a believable conflict and vivid atmospheric details, Red Wine and Her Sexy Ex is the latest gold star standard romance by Kate Hardy.

Thank you, Julie, for making my day. (You can read the full review here.)

(Hmm – now that’s two nice things. So the third is going to be my editor telling me next week that I don’t have to rewrite the Venice book yet again… right???)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Voices and a ray of Sun-shine :)

Apologies for the terrible pun. My writer mates Natalie Anderson and Robyn Grady gave me some news this morning - The Sun (online) has top tips for writing a romance novel, linked to the M&B New Voices competition.

And guess whose book cover is right there at the top?

You can see it over here :)

I'm absolutely thrilled!

London, part 2

Current work: Capri medical romance
Listening to: Daughtry
Reading: (next on TBR)

On Saturday, Fi and I went to the William Morris gallery in the Water House, Walthamstow. (Morris lived here from 1848-1856.)

The house itself is beautiful, and as for the contents… Fabulous. I particularly loved the Burne-Jones stained glass. (Please indulge me with the pics - much of my stained glass has been removed from the Venice book, sob – and EBJ is my favourite artist of all time.)

This is his Praising Angel, originally made for the house of George McCulloch in Kensington. The design was also used in the windows at Salisbury Cathedral and churches in Painswick (Glos) and Montreal.

And this is his St Cecilia.

And a detail I really liked.

This is a lock of William Morris’s hair, in a silver and glass case, which was cut after his death in 1896 by his friend John Carruthers.

These gorgeous fish tiles were designed by William de Morgan.

These two Minstrels windows were designed by Morris for The Grange, Fulham. (And because they use of glass roundels is pretty much how windows are in Venice… There was a little whimper from me, here, for the slash and burn job I did on my windows in the book.)
I also really liked this peacock feather plate (designed by one of the Faulkner sisters – nobody’s sure if it was Kate or Lucy). I can imagine this done in glass - would be amazing and you'd get the blues and the greens.

Back to Fi's for lunch (her risotto is just fabulous), much talking, and then off to Piccadilly Circus for dinner before going to the Gielgud Theatre
to see 'Yes, Prime Minister'.
The theatre is absolutely beautiful - here are the ceiling and the circle (as seen from our seat in the stalls, four rows from the front).
Henry Goodman was absolutely brilliant as Sir Humphrey (came across as terribly corrupt and manipulative, unlike lovely Nigel Hawthorne in the TV series - scary to think that was 24 years ago!); David Haig was an excellent Jim Hacker; and I thought Jonathan Slinger was superb as Bernard (came across as cleverer and much more moral than Derek Fowlds's original). Emily Joyce was very good, too, as the spin doctor. Very, very contemporary - brought in a lot of the issues in politics today and updated them from the original series. We were laughing out loud in quite a few places. Superb writing - and a real treat.

National Alzheimer’s Day

Today is National Alzheimer’s Day. Although my dad’s form of dementia is slightly different, I’m still pleased that the condition is getting a bit of publicity and hopefully people will become more aware of dementia.

As we’re living longer and have an ageing population, I think that in the future more and more people are going to find their lives touched by it. And it’s important to talk about it and share coping strategies, because frankly having a parent with dementia can be absolutely heartbreaking at times and talking to someone who’s been there can really, really help you cope.

Fitting, too, that today is visit day. Actually, I’m due a rough one – but, hey. I had two nice ones on the trot, and that’s pretty good going. And I do at least have my guitar lesson this morning to chill me out first.

Monday, September 20, 2010

London, part 1

Current work: Capri medical romance
Listening to: Daughtry
Reading: (next on TBR)

Friday, had a good journey down (aka worked on the train) and arrived at the Charing Cross Hotel

where I met my fabulous friend Liz Fielding for coffee (and also met her gorgeous, gorgeous granddaughter). Then it was time for lunch. Lovely to see so many old friends and meet some new ones.

First, of course (because this is my blog and you know I'm a foodie), you'll expect to see pics of the scrumptious food: so here we go.

Marinated salmon, chicken wrapped in Parma ham with asparagus bundle and leek and rosemary compote, then lime cheesecake with raspberry coulis. All scrummy (particularly the potato - must ask how they did it as it was much nicer than any of the rare potatoes I've eaten in the last year).

It was lovely catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Sorry, I didn't get pics of everyone (probably because I was talking too much - and I might point out here that Natalie Rivers and Claire Thornton are bad influences because I went clothes-shopping yesterday afternoon, following their recommendations).

Excuse the shameless namedropping (I still find it hard to believe that I actually know these people and they're friends), but:

Sara Craven and India Grey:

Jennie Lucas and Lynn Raye Harris, all the way from the other side of the Atlantic:

Lynn and me:

Caroline Anderson and me: [this is one that would strike fear into our editor's heart because she'd be wondering just what we're planning, with wicked smiles like this - relax, O lovely ed, we're planning lunch and nagging each other on towards deadline. Really, really.]

Nina Harrington and Fiona Harper:

We had a talk from our MD, Mandy Ferguson (and I so owe her a pic of Richard Armitage, though sadly I didn't manage to persuade her that Antonio Banderas should be the cover model for my next book - I did try, dear readers, I did try).

Then I went for a cup of tea with my mate Caroline Anderson (discussing books and what have you, plus showing her the iPad) and then it was time for the author toast with our editorial director, Karin Stoecker. Three milestones to celebrate this year: Maggie Cox's 25th book; Sarah Morgan's 50th, and Catherine George's 75th.

After the do, I met Fi and Liz at Russell Square; sadly, Strada was being refurbished and was closed, so we went to Pizza Express instead. Although we weren't reminiscing about our student days, it was very like being students again, talking for ages about all kinds of subjects over pizza and wine. And (much as I adore my children and I do actually like my job) it was really nice to have a day when I wasn't chained to my desk or being Mummy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

publication day, and London bound

Current work: Capri medical romance
Listening to: (probably not, on the train)
Reading: (next on TBR)

Today is publication day for Guy and Amber’s story, aka the second in the Chateau Lefèvre duo, aka the perfume book – Champagne with a Celebrity. (I still wish it had its original title, but I knew that battle wasn’t going to be won!)

And I am off to London this morning. The iPad is going with me (in its new bag, cough), so I’ll be working on the train, but I will admit that the weekend is going to be a bit of a glamorous and skivy affair. Back on Monday with a report and piccies. Hope your weekend is going to be as nice as mine is planned to be.

Oh, what, you want to know what I’m actually doing? OK. Firstly I’m meeting lovely Liz Fielding for coffee, and then it’s the annual M&B author lunch. After that, it’s catching up with more friends. And then it’s the annual M&B author party, where I will get to give my lovely editor a hug. And then I’m meeting my best friend for dinner and staying at hers for the weekend – we’re going to the William Morris gallery on Saturday morning, and we’re off to the theatre on Saturday night. On Sunday, I will of course be working on the train home :o) But, yes, much skiving and glamour, aka a well-deserved break after finishing second revisions…

Thursday, September 16, 2010

an unexpected and stellar review

Current work: second revisions on the Venice book (last push because it has to be done today)
Listening to: Robert Plant, Band of Joy
Reading: Freya North, Home Truths (still enjoying)

Had a wonderful surprise yesterday – a lovely review for Neurosurgeon…and Mum! on Dear Author.

Sunita, the reviewer, was absolutely lovely and gave it a B+. Yes, she saw flaws in it, but she was honest and constructive about it rather than snarky (which is very much appreciated, because I can learn from that and make my books better – constructive criticism, for me, makes a much better review than a post full of mockery). And there was praise as well as criticism.

This is what she had to say:

“This is a pretty realistic, down to earth story with characters who could live next door to you, and with whom I would happily have dinner. The hurdles Amy and Tom face in terms of Amy’s decisions about her professional life, deciding whether they are committed enough to move forward as a family, and the lingering effects of their past relationships are dealt with very well.”

The bit that really warmed me, though? Excuse the trumpet-blowing, but when reviewers come out with a line like this, it’s brilliant crow-dealing material. So I’m going to share it (take that, crows) :

“the lovely characterizations of the main characters, the realistic feel of the setting and the storyline, and Ms. Hardy’s usual excellent writing made this a very enjoyable read”

Wow. Just wow. Dear Sunita, I’ve been having a pretty rubbish week, work-wise, and you just made it a whole lot nicer with your review. Thank you very much. (And you can see the full review if you click on the link to DA above.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

when only naughtiness will do

Current work: second revisions on the Venice book
Listening to: Robert Plant, Band of Joy
Reading: Freya North, Home Truths (still enjoying)

Sometimes, you need to be naughty. And only naughtiness will do.

Given that (a) I’m having a tough time on the work front and need a treat to cheer me up; (b) it’s THAT time of year, when a certain handbag firm produces the Autumn/Winter picture bag; and (c) I haven’t bought one of said picture bags for two years, so I have been extremely well behaved…

Add in being soaked through yesterday evening, having to wait in a long queue to get something son has been waiting to get for months (the queuing bit made more difficult by the fact that DH put the pre-order receipt in a safe place – probably in the Man Drawer – and it was so safe that he couldn’t find it, so Game had to take our loyalty card and check with head office before they could give son the Halo limited edition stuff he'd pre-ordered and take off the deposit we’d already paid), losing lots of work time while in said queue and then having to go to the café next door to try and wait out the heavy shower and then being caught in rush-hour traffic and taking ages to get home, and...

Yeah. When I’m grumpy and out of sorts, I go shopping.

And this particular piece of naughtiness contains absolutely no calories.

And I’m going to London on Friday (with iPad, so I need a large handbag to contain said iPad).

So I had to do it, didn’t I?

(Could you have resisted? The Radley tag - like the cloud - is pink-and-white striped. It had my name on it...)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

something beautiful

Current work: second revisions on the Venice book
Listening to: Robert Plant, Band of Joy (the two Low tracks, the van Zandt song and the Los Lobos track are all superb; the rest of it needs a bit more listening, but the Low songs are utter standouts - just wish RP was playing more places in the UK. Especially small venues as he did on the Strange Sensation tour. He's playing Paris on a night when I happen to be in Paris, but... no, it's not going to happen, sigh.)
Reading: Freya North, Home Truths (enjoying this – nice fast pace, and very contemporary)

Am still head down on revisions and don't have much to say, so here is a link to a BBC slide show that’s REALLY worth watching (thanks to my best friend for this). The pics are from the 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, and they’re utterly gorgeous. (And yes, there are aurora pics. Bliss.)

Oh, and if you can’t be bothered to click? Here’s a sunset from my back garden at the weekend.

Monday, September 13, 2010

dealing with second revisions, and men with long hair

Current work: second revisions on the Venice book
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: Susanna Kearsley, Sophia’s Secret (finished yesterday and it’s brilliant – couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened next)

Righty. So, the email you don’t want to see from your editor hits your inbox: second revisions.

And you suck it up and deal with it, like the professional you are. There will be moaning and groaning and whining beforehand (thank you to those who put up with it on Friday/over the weekend and sent me lovely messages of support) and there will be much consumption of chocolate, but at the end of the day you do have to deal with it. (Dear crows: please bugger off, because I really don’t have time to indulge you this week.)

Normally, with revisions, I work straight to screen in a single document. I go through my editor’s notes, then do myself a table showing what the book looks like now and what I’m going to need to remove/add/shift round so I know what the new shape looks like (i.e. what I’m doing and where), and when I start writing I work in ‘track changes’ so I can see exactly what I’ve taken out and put in, plus I can make notes to myself all over the place and colour them in. (This is because I am a nerdy planner – though it doesn’t work for everyone, so please don’t take this as a “you MUST do it this way”. If you find some of this useful, great; if you don’t, then try something different because it might work better for you. Oh, and you can’t do this on an iPad, because it only lets you have one file open at a time and it doesn’t do track changes or highlighting (dear Apple, your target market is just not having its needs met), so this is a desktop job.)

This time, I’m taking a different approach. I don’t have to move things, exactly, though I will be cutting the last little bits I kept in from the first version, cough. (That’ll teach me. Next time I get a rewrite, I’ll start with a completely blank document and not try to save anything.) What I need to do is tighten things and show emotions happening on the page. I know what’s happening, in my head, but my readers don’t have access to my thoughts. They just get the pages. Which isn’t the same thing at all. And I need to show it more on the page. To me, this feels terribly heavy-handed, but as I’ve clearly gone too far the other way for now, heavy-handed it has to be. So, instead of doing it all on screen, I’m doing it the old-fashioned way: I’ve printed it out (single spaced and in ‘fastdraft’ print, so as to waste as little paper and ink as possible) and using a pen to make changes. Hopefully, this time, I will crack it. Two phrases to bear in mind for this round: “increase tension” and “on the page”.

Anyway. I’ve cancelled guitar this week and I only have one meeting at school (and please let me not have a bad visit to Dad this week), so I should be able to get this sorted before I go to London on Friday. It’s a matter of gritting my teeth and getting on with it. (Helped by lovely DH keeping me in chocolate all weekend.)

And I bought myself a new toy on Saturday. One of my writing mates swears by the 3-axis type of pedometer because you don’t have to clip it to a belt; you can wear it on a lanyard or stick it in your handbag, even. Had a chat with the girl in the sports shop and she was really helpful. I tried walking down the road, counting my steps, and then checking the display, and WOW! Absolutely accurate. Considering that the last six I bought (cheapies) stopped working after a week, were too sensitive (or not sensitive enough), could be reset to zero very easily by accident, or the clip broke… This is exactly what I wanted. Should also be the kick up the backside I need to get a proper amount of exercise (ha, says the writer who ain’t intending to move from the dining room table except for school runs, laundry and cooking dinner until the second revs are D.O.N.E.) and start getting my weight back under control.

Men with long hair? Ah. That’s my Pink Heart Society post today. I dare you to look and find not a single one of them gorgeous :o) Go and have a look and tell me who’s your fave.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Is it Friday the 13th?

Current work: second revisions on the Venice book (sob)
Listening to: Nickelback (because I am in a bad, bad, bad mood, and I might just have a splurge on DH’s iTunes account)
Reading: Susanna Kearsley, Sophia’s Secret (still enjoying, and I’d rather go and finish it than work at the moment)

I have come to the conclusion that the calendar is wrong. That, or I jinxed myself the other day by admitting that I’m actually enjoying writing. Because today everything is going pear-shaped.

Today, I tried to do my post for the PHS on Monday. I was REALLY CAREFUL to check that the date and time of posting was for Monday. What does Blogger do? Sticks it up today. Three times I’ve tried, three times I’ve failed, so I’m just going to try again on Monday and if the post is a bit late… well, it’s a bit late, so apologies for that in advance.

So I gave up and went back to work. I was enjoying writing my new medical romance. And then… I got the email I’ve been waiting for from my ed. Except she said what I hoped she wasn’t going to say. Sigh. The Curse of the Second Revisions is still ongoing, then. (I never used to get this. Which is why it’s so depressing. It means that I’ve become worse and worse as a writer instead of improving. Maybe I ought to go and get a proper job.)

It definitely feels like Friday the 13th today, and I’m feeling very sorry for myself. I might just have to go and buy some chocolate… Still, it’s termtime, so finding work time is easier. Deep breath and back to the salt mine, methinks.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Current work: Medical romance (Capri/Sorrento) and proofs of The Fireman and Nurse Loveday
Listening to: Oasis, Time Flies (I really do like the early stuff)
Reading: Susanna Kearsley, Sophia’s Secret (just started it and enjoying it hugely – can’t resist ruined castles and history, so I know I’m going to like this. SK’s ‘The Shadowy Horses’ is a brilliant read and I think this might just join it)

So today is back to proper routine - with no meetings and nothing to do except write :o) A quiet house, a cup of vanilla rooibos tea (my latest discovery and highly recommended), and a book that – no, I’m not going to say, in case I jinx it. Let’s leave it that I'm enjoying working on it, and it's nice to be back to proper routine.

I’m also doing proofs of the St Piran’s book (aka Penhally series 3 – out in April next year, I think, but don’t quote me on that). Actually, I quite like doing proofs; by the time they arrive, there’s a big gap between me and the book, so I’m no longer sick of the sight of it and can re-read it with a fresh eye. (And yes, you do get sick of the sight of your own work. Revisions make it worse! And I'm trying very hard not to think about the possibility of second revisions on the Venice book...)

Thanks to everyone who’s sent me song suggestions – either here, on FB or privately. Some of them have made me laugh like a drain: clearly I’m not the only one with a slightly dark sense of humour and a love of very bad puns :o) Growing up around medics does kind of do that to you; my mum’s colleagues were great fun.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

falling off a cliff...

Current work: Medical romance (Capri/Sorrento)
Listening to: Daughtry, Leave This Town (I really, REALLY like this album)
Reading: Abby Green, The Virgin’s Secret (enjoyed this)

Falling off a cliff? Not me, personally. But when I was going to do my nice, sensible meeting of the hero and heroine at the beginning of my book (for an agreed outline, arrgh), my heroine took me to one side and whispered in my ear that she had a much better idea.

Not quite sure how my editor’s going to take it, but hey. It works for me, too.

My heroine’s not falling off a cliff, exactly, but I need a song. (Not going to use the lyrics, obviously, for copyright reasons, but you are allowed to mention song titles.) This song has to unfreeze someone who’s terrified. So:
  • it has to be uplifting
  • it has to be well known (otherwise the copyeditor will take it out for being “popular culture and dating the book” – or I would’ve used Daughtry’s “What About Now” because I love, love, LOVE this song – and hey, Westlife covered it, so does that make it classic? Umm, better not answer that)
  • it has to be easy to sing (or I would’ve gone for Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”).

OK, so medic humour would dictate something like Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” (or, as one of my writing mates suggested, anything by Cliff Richard. Geddit? LOL, I’m so going to have a running gag on this subject. Unless my ed makes me take all this out, which I’m hoping she won’t, because you need a little light stuff to balance the deep emotional stuff). But my hero is being nice and not doing something like “I Believe I Can Fly” (did I mention that my writing mates took this as an excuse to be sick puppies? Probably my fault for suggesting the Tom Petty song).
Right now, I’m torn between Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop”.

But does anyone have any better suggestions?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Current work: Medical romance (Capri/Sorrento)
Listening to: Lifehouse, Smoke and Mirrors (fave track was co-written with Daughtry…)
Reading: next on TBR

I do like beginning a new book. Even though I’m a planner, there are still so many possibilities in those opening pages.

Dog and I were a bit lonely yesterday sans kids, so I’m afraid there was a bit of guitar playing going on yesterday. (While I was thinking about outlines. That’s something that sometimes needs to be done in the back of the head rather than the front, so I wasn’t actually skiving, even though it looks like it: I was being creative!) And no, I wasn’t playing the stuff I’m meant to be practising, either. I’m messing about with my current favourite song, Daughtry’s ‘What About Now’ – lovely easy chords for the verse, but the ones I’ve seen online for the chorus and bridge don’t feel quite right. Guess I’ll be torturing Jim later today, then :o)

Kids both had a good day at school yesterday, so I can stop being fidgety now.

Oh, and I nearly forgot – I’m talking about new beginnings over at the eHarlequin Medical Authors’ blog.

Plan for today: guitar lesson, visiting Dad (and trying to stay off chocolate afterwards because I really want to get my weight back on track), and doing a bit more on the book.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Back to school – and exciting stuff!

Current work: Medical romance (Capri/Sorrento)
Listening to: Oasis
Reading: Kate Walker, The Good Greek Wife? (enjoyed – think this is one of my favourite of hers, and I loved the dog); Caroline Anderson, The Surgeon’s Miracle (I knew what this was about because she had lunch with me after a research trip and told me all about it… but it still made me bawl my eyes out. Really good read).

Back to school. Back to routine. I adore my children, but it’s nice to have headspace again and get back to routine. (And not to feel guilty about working.) My project list is up to date and stuck on the wall behind my monitor (where I can see it all the time), the Pocket Informant (time management/to do list) app on the iPad is up to date, and I know what I'm doing. And that's a nice place to start from.

Exciting stuff #1: today, the Mills & Boon New Voices competition goes live – hop over to to get all the details.

Exciting stuff #2 (well, for me, at any rate) – we have booked a research trip to Egypt. (I enjoyed putting that outline together. Whether my ed will like it is another matter... I might have to behave and toe the line on that one.) We’re staying in Luxor for a week, which means antiquities (especially Tutankhamen’s tomb and Karnak and the museums) and the Nile. Can’t wait. Apparently it's going to be hot (95 degrees) BUT it's a dry heat, so I should cope OK. And it's a v nice hotel with a pool overlooking the Nile. Apparently the sunsets from the restaurants are amazing. And I happen to know there's an excursion involving sunrise and a hot air balloon, and daughter and I are lobbying for this. (Am also lobbying for a day trip to Cairo, but that depends... if, as rumour has it, we leave at 5am and get back at 1am, that's a little too much.)

Apologies to those who have suffered my over-exuberance on FB about this particular matter. But if anyone has ‘must eat here’ or ‘don’t miss this’ tips, I am all ears. I am very, VERY excited about this as it’s joint top of my wish list of places to visit – the other one would’ve blown our budget big time, plus the troops balked at the ice hotel so I am going to have to do much persuasion over the next year. (Or, alternatively, go without my research crew. Think they might mutiny if I try that one, though.)

Exciting stuff #3: I had a bit of a skivy afternoon yesterday. ‘Time Team’ is apparently covering the Roman town at Caistor St Edmund early next year, and the dig is going on for the rest of the month. And it’s open to the public. My stepmum went the other week and said I’d love it. Given that I am planning an archaeologist heroine (yup, that’s the Egypt book), that was a research opportunity not to be missed. We were supposed to be going to the beach; I begged and the kids piled in on my side, so we had a teensy detour en route to the seaside. Fascinating stuff.

Friday, September 03, 2010


Current work: outlines
Listening to (aka being forced to listen to) : Justin Bieber (because she doesn't like Daughtry)
Reading: next on TBR

Suddenly realised mid-baking session with daughter (hence music 'choice' today) that I’d forgotten to put up the link!

I’m over at the Minxes of Romance today, talking about, ahem, time management, so please come over and say hello.

Usually I’m good at time management. Today I’m doing six things at once, as usual, but I’m a bit overexcited because I’M GOING TO LUXOR!! (More of which, next week.)

Have a nice weekend :o) And the timer’s beeping again so I need to go get the gingerbread hearts out of the oven…

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Current work: outlines
Listening to: Daughtry and Tom Petty
Reading: next on TBR

I had intended to talk about something else, yesterday, but the relief at getting the book off my desk rather knocked that to one side!

So. September. Perhaps I’m weird, or maybe other people have noticed this too… but the air always seems to change on September 1. There’s a slightly smoky, autumnal feel about it. And it smells like a new school term. It always used to fill me with anticipation: a mixture of excitement at having a new challenge, and the kind of worries most children have about a new academic year (will I still fit in or will people have changed over the summer?). I’d be fascinated to know if it’s the same for teachers, though obviously the challenges and worries will be different.

Today, I’m going to be sewing in name tags. Joy. But on the plus side we’re having a baking session tomorrow morning as we have friends coming over for lunch.

I’m over at the Romance Minxes tomorrow – will put a link up tomorrow. Other than that, yesterday's guitar... let's just say that my recent lack of sleep showed and I was utterly inept. Sigh. It will get better. I just need to carve out time to practise. At the moment, I seem to be waking up at 3am, but that might not be fair to the rest of the house if I start practising then ;o)

But I will leave you with a link to the track I was listening to at stupid o'clock - brilliant for a romance author.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Current work: outlines for next contract
Listening to: Green Day, Muse and MCR
Reading: Kelly Hunter, Untameable Rogue (love my mate Kel’s books, especially the Bennett family series – and reading this after going to see the Karate Kid was excellent timing on my part *g*)

The book is off my desk.

Big, happy sigh of relief.

Hopefully it’s not going to bounce back with second revs. (I have everything crossed. Everything.)

And I have celebrated with a music splurge. Not too bad a splurge…

Oh, all right, it was pretty bad. Daughtry’s ‘Leave This Town’, Athlete’s ‘Black Swan’, Lifehouse’s ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, and pre-ordered Robert Plant’s ‘Band of Joy’. Plus two songs I like by Sheryl Crow and Daughtry because I am trying to wean myself off the ‘buy album just for one track’ habit. And I ordered Ritchie Blackmore’s latest for DH. (This is definitely wifely indulgence, as I’m not keen on Ritchie’s current direction – I’d love to see him stretch himself by doing a whole album of Bach, but sadly it’s not going to happen.) Oh, and because dear old Apple told me to update my iPad software last night, which crashed my iPad and then wiped ALL my music off it (putting back 850 tracks took ages, and there was much ranting on my part - especially during the restore, when I was worrying that my data was gone), I had a bit of a sulk and bought some more music. (Oasis. I know, I know. It’s possible to like a band’s music but not the personalities. This is the latest best-of job with some of the good early singles on – and, joy, ‘Whatever’.) I foresee loud stuff in the car for a while...

Now I need to clear my head (aka write proper outlines for the next contract and look at my ed’s thoughts on the new Medical, which is due later this month and she's giving me feedback in the next day or so).

Plan for today: guitar, mess about with the kids (and check they have everything they need for school; not to mention sewing name tags in new uniform), and visit Dad if DH is home at a reasonable time. And sort out above work.

Still feel as if I'm running to stand still, but next week is back to normal routine and things should be easier again. (And I am SO having a day in the library to do some family history research.)

Oh yes - and I have an article up here at eHarlequin re submitting as part of their Book in 3 Months.