Monday, April 30, 2012


Current work: second revs on Vienna book (lovely ed was very swift!)
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: next on TBR

Blustery weekend so, even though my fabulous wellies arrived, not the sort of weather for walkies :o(

Today, however, the sun is shining and the skies are blue – first time in for what seems like for ever – and the blossom on our tree in the front garden is fabulous. An English spring at its best.

I leave you with a pic while I go back to the salt mines, aka revisions...

Friday, April 27, 2012


Current work: new medical (while awaiting ed’s verdict on Vienna book)
Listening to: playlist for new book (Take That, Coldplay, Sheryl Crow, Bryan Adams – oh, this is a goodie)
Reading: Annie Claydon, Doctor on Her Doorstep (enjoyed, and LOVED the observatory scene)

Still being a bad blogger. Maybe I should drop down to twice a week…

So, this week. It’s been busy and yet not, at the same time. What have I actually done?

  • Finished revisions – awaiting verdict and trying not to stress; 
  • Started new medical (note to self, sign that contract and get it in the post to Canada); 
  • Had guitar lesson (not to self, more practising required); 
  • Started learning the rumba at dance class; 
  • Haven’t done anywhere near enough exercise; 
  • Need to drag daughter into town tomorrow to get new school shoes because hers are falling apart and enough is enough – she’s put it off on the grounds that they’re comfortable, but the rain this week has meant she’s had wet feet most days (and this is my sensible child, sigh); 
  • Also need to buy collar for dog after yet another drop-and-roll incident, and he is in SO much disgrace; 
  • Discovered that the Mac 'magic mouse' is very finicky about batteries (note to self, in future have a spare pack of two different types and don’t wait until you’re down to the last two in the pack before buying new ones); 
  • And the usual 101,000 things that come with having a husband, two kids and a dog.

Tulips? They’re up now and looking fantastic with the purple edges. (They’re called ‘Shirley’ – waves to my mate and excellent crime writer Shirley Wells.) So I’ll leave you with a picture, and get back to work :o)

Monday, April 23, 2012


Current work: revisions on Vienna book (nearly, nearly, NEARLY there)
Listening to: Bach
Reading: next on TBR

Apologies for being a bad blogger. Am under revisions cosh. I did however skive off for part of yesterday – lunch out at DH best friend’s, then we went for a walk in Foxley Woods to see the bluebells.

Although most of the plants around here have been out a couple of weeks early, I think we were really a little too early for the bluebells – another fortnight, and the carpet will be magic.

Even so, we saw primroses.

And bluebells. (Proper English bluebells with a scent, not hybrids.)

And a bit of a bluebell carpet.

While we were there (and we will gloss over the ditches DH made me clamber through and the fact he was very close to letting me fall flat on my face in the mud), there was a massive storm about six miles away. The thunder was incredible, because it’s not like hearing a storm in a city with a background of traffic. This was birdsong, birdsong, and literally five seconds of booming, rolling thunder. This scene over the oilseed rape fields will give you an idea of the sky.

And this one taken from the churchyard in Foxley – that’s not a blue sky, by the way. That’s the storm, with the sun shining from behind us to the trees.

 And maybe this one sums it up the best. Glorious.

The day involved too much talking, too much laughing, and too much eating (as all the nicest days do). And I think I’ve cracked my revisions. I’m on the last readthrough, now, just making sure I’ve got enough emotion in there. (And yes, I am expecting second revisions. And praying it’s not a rejection. Been there, done that, with the Venice book (after two complete rewrites) and I do not want to go back there.)

Have a nice day. Happy St George's Day; happy birthday to Shakespeare; and I'm back to the saltmines :o)

Monday, April 16, 2012

sunshine award

Current work: revisions on Vienna book
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: Julie Kagawa – The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, The Iron Knight; Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Back to school today, so I might have more of a chance of working out what day today is :o) (Though it was my organised child who forgot her PE kit rather than Mr Scatty – so I have to drop it off before her lesson. First day back to work, and a bit gets shaved off. Sigh.)

My lovely friend Kate Jackson has given me the sunshine award. Rules: say what makes you happy, and then tag someone else.

What makes me happy? In no particular order: quality time with husband and children, the sea, bluebells, fossicking about in ruins and ancient churches, music (whether I’m listening to it or playing it on the guitar or piano), good coffee, exploring new places (especially if museums and/or gorgeous architecture is involved), researching things for a book, going to the theatre, going to the cinema, ballroom dancing lessons…

Actually, I could go on. I’m very fortunate, because there are lots of things in my life that make me happy. (Being a glass half-full person helps, too.)

I’m tagging India Grey for this one :o)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

lucky 7 meme

Current work: revisions on Vienna book
Listening to: various
Reading: Jojo Moyes, Me Before You (very, very moving)

Have been tagged by my mate and fellow Riva author Nicola Marsh on a meme. Rules: go to p77 of your current work, 7th line down, and paste the next 7 sentences. Then tag 7 others.

Oh, dear. I spy infodump, whining and way too much navel-gazing. My red pen is going to have a field day. (And yes, I cheated. I added line 8. That single line is the whole point of all that verbiage. Harsh editing required!)

Polly took advantage of the moment to splash her face with cold water. Yes, Liam Flynn was gorgeousness personified, and a really nice guy to boot, but she couldn’t get involved with him. Even if it wasn’t too soon after Harry, there were other things in the way. Liam wanted to work on Broadway when Ballroom Glitz had finished; this phone call sounded as if he was well on his way to making that happen. And, if he was in New York while she was in London, that would mean being apart for a long time. That, or she’d have to give up any security she had in London to join him – in a place where she knew nobody and where she couldn’t be sure that she and Liam were looking at forever, either.
Neither option was one she wanted.
So she just had to forget about that kiss.

Who do I tag?

Shirley Wells
Kate Jackson
Michelle Styles
Nell Dixon
India Grey
Julie Cohen
Fiona Harper

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

where does the time go?

Current work: about to start revs on Vienna book
Listening to: Vivaldi (playing it on guitar rather than listening to)
Reading: Essie Fox, The Somnambulist (enjoyed – very good period detail); Jojo Moyes, Me Before You (superb)

Am being a Very Neglectful Blogger. Apols. Is school holidays, so I have no real routine, and bank holidays mean I have to look at a calendar and work out what today is.

What have I been up to? Chilling with the family, spending time in the kitchen with littlest, reading, watching films and documentaries, messing about on guitar and piano. Oh, yes, and we have a research trip booked – something I didn’t think I’d say this year, given it’s our Year of Austerity. We’re staying in England, but the children put in a bid for the sea. I have half an outline in my head and specific places I want to see, within walking distance of the cottage. Lost my bid for the smuggler’s cottage, complete with tunnel; and the ancient scheduled monument in York (way out of our budget); and the cottage that was 50m from the beach. But the location was more important than the accommodation, so we have reached a workable compromise. Now to persuade DH that we need to take wellies. As in he can sit with a coffee and the paper by the beach, if he chooses, but I intend to go fossil-hunting with the kids.

Revisions have landed. Have sent my nerdy table to my ed (yay, nerdiness works for her) and, once she’s happy with how I’m planning to fix the problems, I can get cracking.

That’s me up to date. How was your Easter?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

the big scary spider story (not for arachnophobes)

Current work: on holiday (though not for much longer, as ed promised me outline feedback today)
Listening to: whatever torture the kids are inflicting on me (Now 80-wotsit)
Reading: Lucinda Riley, The Girl on the Cliff

So – the spidey story I promised you.

There I was on Sunday night, quietly reading in bed. (DH was watching the motorbike racing = mega tedious, so I decided to go and read in comfort.)

And suddenly I was aware of something moving just above my book.

As in the legs of a spider.

A BIG spider.

I’m not scared of spiders. They intrigue me and I love the patterns they make in their webs. But when it’s a spider that’s the size of my palm, and it’s parascending down from the ceiling and is about to land on my book…

To quote son: ‘You screamed like a girl.’ (He then grinned and said, ‘Well, obviously, because you are one.’)

Did Dog rush up to rescue me? (Did he, hell. Too lazy.) Did DH rush up to rescue me? (Did he, hell. He was busy watching the motorbikes, aka too lazy.)

Stomped downstairs and requested that DH please go upstairs, find supersize-spidey and put him/her outside. ‘There’s no point in looking. It will have gone by now.’ DH rolled eyes at me. ‘And did you have to scream? Now Madam will be convinced it’s scuttled into her room and she’ll refuse to go to sleep.’ (True. She made her brother check everywhere with a torch before she would return to her room.)

Oh, and just in case you think I might be exaggerating about Spidey… this is one from last summer. And that’s about the size of Sunday’s monster. (If you are interested in UK spiders, there’s a great website -

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

elsewhere again today

Current work: on holiday (aka baking and taking car in to be fixed)
Listening to: actually, playing guitar duets with daughter (am on holiday)
Reading: Lucinda Riley, The Girl on the Cliff

Today, I’m over at the Pink Heart Society with one of my favourite deadline recipes. I guess it’s sort of springlike, as the colours of daffodils and tulips are involved :o)

Other than that, a warning light has illuminated on the car dashboard. The manual said it’s the ‘malfunction’ light (clearly they like being vague rather than telling you what it actually means), so it was off to the garage this morning to see what’s wrong. Turns out it’s a sensor in the exhaust, so it’s back again later this week.

Tomorrow, I will tell a story that arachnophobes might like to avoid…

Monday, April 02, 2012

Elsewhere today

Current work: on holiday (aka tidying office)
Listening to: actually, playing guitar duets with daughter (am on holiday)
Reading: Jessica Hart, We’ll Always Have Paris; Patricia Wastvedt, The German Boy; Natasha Solomons, The Novel in the Viola

Am over at Love is the Best Medicine today, talking about refilling the well (aka what I did at the weekend – and there are pics).

Have a nice day!