Friday, March 30, 2012


Current work: just delivered Vienna book (on deadline, yeehah)
Listening to: Paul Weller
Reading: Kelly Hunter, Cracking the Dating Code

I have sent the book to my ed.

And now it’s wait for either the big fat R or revisions (major/minor, I have no idea). I am not taking anything for granted, and I can never judge my own work.

So I guess it’s just enjoy taking a couple of days off, tidy office and sort out details of a couple of other projects.

Have a nice weekend :o)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

d-e-a-d-l-i-n-e (and dancing)

Current work: Vienna book (deadline very, very, very ahoy now)
Listening to: various (ballroom) dance stuff
Reading: Liz Fielding, The Last Woman He’d Ever Date (fabulous – adored Archie, and the hero was gorgeous, too); Fiona Harper, Dancing With Danger (loved this one, too, especially the proposal scene)

Deep in deadline. Not getting much sense out of me today :o)

Dance class last night was fab – started the quickstep, which was great fun and DH is quite good at it! Also reprise of the waltz – arrgh, corners. DH and I were, um, taken gently to one side to walk it through a couple of times (why, why, WHY can’t we get it? If this book does make it through, you will so see what I had trouble with at dance class – same as my heroine), and at the end of the lesson it finally clicked… until next week, no doubt.

Righty. Back to work for me. Coffee brewed (admit I prefer Lavazza to the Fortnum’s blend, but the tin is still beautiful), dog snoring gently on his bed behind me, all’s well with the world (note to self: do not think about this book going wrong and remember that lovely ed said no authorial paranoia allowed) and my head is in Vienna.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


There's a lovely tribute to Margaret McDonagh by her editor over at the Medical authors' blog, Love is the Best Medicine.

Today is her funeral - sadly, too far away for me to make it, so Caroline Anderson and I are meeting up for an Italian lunch in her honour and will be raising a glass to her.

If you'd like to share your memories of Mags, do go over to the blog and leave a comment - it will be much appreciate.

Monday, March 26, 2012

spring, spring, spring

Current work: Vienna book (deadline ahoy)
Listening to: various dance stuff
Reading: Rachel Vincent, My Soul to Steal; Rachel Vincent, If I Die

My bright ideas about being a tortoise instead of a hare have, um, not worked out. It seems that my Muse has other ideas. So I am on deadline – book due this week – working at top speed again. (I hate to admit this, but I do actually enjoy it when my brain’s going fast like this. Or maybe it’s because the cough isa bit better and my head’s less fuzzy.)

British Summer Time started yesterday, and spring is most definitely here. I have a border full of spring flowers, and I just love the cheerfulness of my daffodils. I’d forgotten that I bought the ones with orange trumpets and yellow petals, but they’re lovely. And there are a few narcissi in there as well, and the tulips are coming up, and another of my favourites is also blooming nicely.

And then, of course, the hedgerows are greening up. The leaves are starting to come out on our ornamental fruit tree, which means that it’ll be a mass of blossom in about a month. (I have a lovely picture from daughter’s christening day of the two of us and all the blossom in the background, which I think my dad took and was one of his favourites.)

And, with a sky like this (and the leaves coming out), you can’t help but feel full of the joys of spring.
(And yes, I did put the SD card in the right slot, this time! No repeats of last week's panic required...)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: various
Reading: Judith Lennox, Catching the Tide

There are days when I really shouldn’t get out of bed. Today being a case in point. Have done something VERY stupid (let’s just say it involves an SD card and an optical drive) and managed to mess up the Mac. It’s fixable, but this is a distraction I really don’t need when the book is due next week. Apple have been great and reassured me that I’m not the first to do it and I won’t be the last; they’ve booked me an appointment with the genius bar (and, oh please, let me have the Mac back the same day).

And I am trying very, very hard not to stress about it, because I cough when I’m stressed and I already have a really barky cough (currently drinking lots of manuka honey and lemon).

Just arrgh.

Edit: Note to self. Next time, before you panic, read the Apple support forums - the people there are very, very helpful. (There were 10 pages on this particular subject, so I am obviously not the only one to do it. Making a cardboard hook to remove it was a fantastic idea; it worked first time.) Now feel much better and am shaking with relief. More honey and lemon, and back to work for me...

Monday, March 19, 2012


Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: various
Reading: Deborah Lawrenson, The Lantern; CJ Sansom, Heartstone

Bittersweet weekend. I always miss my mum on Mother’s Day and find the day a bit hard, but it’s important not to spoil my own children’s pleasure in the day, so it’s always bittersweet. The kids spoiled me rotten (aka son took DH out with a list, while I went with daughter to pick up the last few things she needed for her school residentialtrip this week). Books (including one I hadn’t asked for, about Paris – excellent choice by DH), chocolates, a bottle of Chablis (obviously shared), and a beautiful Radley umbrella (to replace the one that DH bought me for Christmas and, ahem, I managed to lose before I even used it).

As it was Mother’s Day, it also meant that I got to choose where we went. Yup. Obvious choice. North Norfolk coast.

Popped in to see my stepmum first with goodies, then to put flowers on my parents’ graves. The spring bulbs on my dad’s grave look really lovely. And that made me a little sad, too, because Mags would’ve loved to see this picture.

Then off to Wells – despite the fact that it looked as if it was going to pour. The rain was just about holding off when we got to Wells, so we parked at the town and walked along the harbour path to the sea. The tide was coming in, but there was still a sandbank covered with very noisy geese.

And here’s the arty shot. (Annoyingly, I missed the one where loads of them suddenly went into flight, as was talking politics with son.)

And then, when we got to the sea, we had a real bonus – looks what we saw! (Haven’t seen them at Wells, before, so that was a real treat.)

Quick stop for coffee, then a stroll back to the car, and a stop-off for dinner on the way home, and finally curling up on the sofa with DH and a cup of Countess Grey tea (bit more orangey than Earl Grey - v nice!).

Hope you were spoiled if you were celebrating Mother's Day yesterday.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

sad news

Very sad to report that my friend the M&B Medical author Margaret McDonagh passed away last weekend. I’ve written a tribute to her over at the Pink Heart Society, and others are sharing their memories, too. I’ll miss her very much.

Monday, March 12, 2012

a perfect English afternoon

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Michael Bublé and Dean Martin
Reading: Susanna Kearsley, Season of Storms (excellent characterisation, excellent setting, excellent plot); Susan Moody, Losing Nicola (lovely to see Moody writing again – really liked her mainstreams as well as the Cassie swan series)

Really busy day on Friday. Delighted to see that some of the bulbs my stepmum and I planted are now out on my dad’s grave; he’d be very pleased with the crocuses (croci?), mini daffodils and mini irises. Lovely lunch out with my stepmum (was her birthday, so excellent excuse – and no, I didn’t have pudding); then school run and a quick dash to the city for an eye test.

I had the retinal photograph done this time and it was SO interesting. The optician was the same one I saw last time, a total sweetie who talked me through what he could see on the photo. (Hmm. Dear ed. Can I do an eye book?) My distance vision is still absolutely fine but, as my glasses are four years old and a bit scuffed, I’ve ordered another pair of my practically-plain-glass-with-prisms glasses for work. Near vision – well, we had a laugh about my eyesight being fine (I can still read 6-point print) but my arms are just too short. (Y’know when you see middle-aged women texting and they’re holding their phone at arm’s length? C’est moi. Tyrannosaurus Kate.) So it’s reading glasses for me, this time round, to let me bring a book back to a comfortable reading point.

Came home to the email I’d been waiting for all week – daughter’s results from her Grade One guitar exam. I knew she’d pass well, but she thought she’d messed up one section. Nope: because she got a distinction. Very proud of her.

Saturday, DH and son came into town with us for once. DH bought us coffee and cake in Carluccio’s. Very civilised :o) Plus we needed to buy someone a treat for exam results. (Someone else also has GCSE results due and I think a treat will be in order, but he forgot to collect his results on Friday so that’ll have to be next weekend now.)

Sunday, glorious weather so we decided to take the dog for a stroll along Marriott’s Way. He loved every second of it (especially the bit where he bounced about in the river, and the big puddle he just had to splash through). Blue skies, primroses in the hedgerows, leaves starting to unfurl and catkins in evidence (sorry, I forgot the camera). And there was a skylark singing his heart out as we tromped down the track. Went slightly further than we intended because Mr ‘Of Course I Know Where I’m Going’ actually didn’t (!), but we enjoyed exploring a bit more of our neighbourhood.

Friday, March 09, 2012

red alert on Aurorawatch!

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Michael Bublé
Reading: Susanna Kearsley, Season of Storms (excellent characterisation, excellent setting, excellent plot)

Just had an email from my lovely mate Kate Jacksonaurorawatch has sent a red alert. Which means auroras may be visible across ALL parts of the UK tonight. (I knew about the massive solar storm yesterday and was hoping for this…) Please, please let the cloud clear. The Northern Lights is one sight I am desperate to see – it’s absolutely top of my bucket list.

Other that that, am busy working - woke at 4am this morning with the black moment sorted. Plus birthday celebs with my stepmum; haunting the ABRSM website because daughter’s results are due today/tomorrow; and an eye test later today – I think this time my prescription will be for reading glasses, not practically plain glass with a prism to make screenwork comfortable…

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

and now, back to normal... (aka Kate goes mad on violets)

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Michael Bublé
Reading: Julie Cohen, The Summer of Living Dangerously (definitely her best yet – very funny, but you will need tissues as well)
So all the glamour is over, and I am back to my normal scruffy self, in my untidy office (yeah, all right – the PHS is featuring my workspace on Saturday, and the pics are of what it looks like when freshly tidied), chained to my desk. And doing lots of laundry in between.

I had a wonderful day on Monday. For once, I didn’t work on the train, and it was such a pleasure to read one of my friends’ books on the train, getting the in-jokes, and texting her to tell her I was enjoying it. And then to see my wonderful ed, be spoiled with lunch out, and talking about cookery and Paris (as well as the odd bit of business). And then the excitement of the awards, and way too much champagne.I’m a real lightweight nowadays with alcohol, so I really needed a latte when I caught the train home :o) I was craving a bacon sandwich (and cake), but was immensely sensible and had a chicken salad instead.

My Fortnum’s parcel arrived while I was away. Oops. Actually, the box was ginormous, so I think DH might’ve been worried about how bad I’d been, but there were only four items in it. (And I might point out that the tea is cheaper than a same-sized box of Teapigs tea, so I wasn’t being majorly extravagant.) Daughter and I have been desperate to try the violet biscuits (which are very small, and we are on a strict limit of ONE per day, and I am writing them in my food diary – this is the basis of having one small, lovely treat per day so I don’t feel deprived). Her first comment was, ‘These are really LUSH. And they are half mine, right?’ Cough. Dat’s ma girl.

Beautiful tin, too. (First pic shows the actual tin - and proof that the coffee matches my kitchen - and the second two are close-ups of the tin. Might be a squabble over who gets the tin when it's empty. Probably will have to buy second one to mollify daughter.) (#anyexcuse)

Righty. The kettle’s just switched off, so that’s my call to make another coffee and get cracking on the book. Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

RNA Awards 2012

Had a wonderful time in London yesterday at the RNA Awards. It was blowing a gale (and raining heavily) when I left home, but by the time I got to London it was all blue skies (albeit still a bit windy!).

Started off by meeting the M&B editors and my fellow M&B shortlistees for lunch in the Charing Cross Hotel. (Sorry, forgot to take pics of food, but the chicken saltimbocca and the passion fruit creme brûlée were gorgeous.) Thank you to Jessica Hart for taking the pic for me.

After lunch, it was off to 1 Whitehall Place for the awards do and lots of photographs (Marta, the photographer, was great). Sorry, forgot to hand my camera to someone else at that point, but here's RNA chair Annie Ashurst with the backdrop :)

And then a little time to catch up with friends (and, ahem, drink champagne). Here are Julie Cohen (whose latest kept me very entertained on the train on the way down) and Jean Fullerton (shortlisted for the RONA Historical).

Fiona Harper and me (sigh, windswept fringe on my part...)

M&B editor Kim Young and Liz Fenwick (both always look very glam).

Me with lovely Lizzie Lamb.

Then it was in to the Gladstone Library for the awards do itself. The tables were beautifully presented (and I should add that the glasses were for everyone on that side of the table, not just one person!). And they were silk rose petals. It looked really, really pretty.

I had an excellent view of the stage :)

And I would've loved a chance to poke round the Gladstone Library properly - what a room.

Jane Wenham-Jones and Peter James were our hosts - and did a fantastic double act.

First up was the Harry Bowling Prize (sorry, didn't get a pic for that, but the winner gave a beautiful speech.) And then it was the RoNA Rose award. Actually, as everyone on the shortlist is a mate of mine (and a couple are among my bestest author mates), and I'd read all the books on the shortlist (which were great), I was waiting to cheer whoever won. Very loudly.

But forgive me for being a bit indulgent. It isn't every year your book cover goes up on a screen :)

And the winner was Sarah Mallory :) (More pics later, and I really should've got a pic of her shoes because they were amazing!)

Then it was the Outstanding Achievement, and a very popular choice it was too - Karin Stoecker, former editorial director at M&B. She's a lovely, lovely woman, and it was SO well deserved.

RoNA Young Adult: Caroline Green, with Dark Ride.

RoNA Historical - Christina Courtenay with Highland Storms.

RoNA Romcom - Jane Lovering with Please Don't Stop The Music.

RoNA Epic - Rosie Thomas with The Kashmir Shawl.

RoNA Contemporary - Katie Fforde with Summer of Love.

And then it was time for pudding - chocolate fondant pots (Kate the chocolate fiend and the pudding fiend doesn't like chocolate puddings, but I'm told they were very nice), with fabulous presentation!

My lovely ed, Sheila Hodgson.

Sarah Mallory with her trophy! (Big cheer, here.)

Sharon Kendrick (see, Shazza - as I promised, it's the one with the nice smile and not the other one...).

And several of the m&B authors were rounded up afterwards for a photo with Karin. LTR: Liz Fielding, Mary Nichol, Sarah Mallory, Fiona Harper, Carol Townend (hiding behind Karin), Sharon Kendrick, Kate Hardy.

All in all, a lovely day out. Thanks to the organisers for making us all feel so spoiled and so welcome.

Friday, March 02, 2012


Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Michael Bublé
Reading: Donna Alward, A Family for the Rugged Rancher

Daffadillies? Kate gone mad (or thinking of Piccadilly and her F&M parcel)? Nope – pure showing off (‘anddaffadillies fill their cups with tears’ – Milton’s Lycidas).

Really pleased to see this peeping out in the garden yesterday (on St David’s day, too).

The border in our front garden is quite protected, but I’m hoping this means that there are spring bulbs bursting into bloom all over my dad’s grave, as I planted these the same day.

Yesterday was also World Book Day. Daughter has a £1 book token to spend, so you can guess where we’re going tomorrow morning :o)

Dance class on Wednesday was fun, as we added in a joint spot turn. Weirdly, last week, DH and I could do the single spot turns. This week, no chance – he stomped on my toes! (Newly pedicured, thanks to my lovely mate Jo at Forget-me-not Footcare - she’s a qualified chiropodist as well as a beautician and I am soooo tempted to pitch something to my ed, because feet are really
interesting and Jo indulged me by letting me grill her. Dear ed…)

And I was also thrilled to discover yesterday that I’m #7 in the M&B’s top 10 bestseller list for ‘The Ex Who Hired Her’ – thank you very much to everyone who put me there! :o)

And, of course, it's publication day today for that book and 'Dr Cinderella's Midnight Fling'.

New hair last night, ready for the RNA awards do on Monday (excited about that, or what?); and then had some excellent news on our return home, as daughter has been offered a place at her first choice school.

Definitely a red letter day :o)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

win free books!

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Beethoven (piano sonata, Pathétique
Reading: A Kiss to Seal the Deal, Nikki Logan; The Army Ranger’s Return, Soraya Lane

The Medical Authors are having a big blog party today - lots of books up for grabs - come and talk to us at the blog!