Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book 55 sold!

Current work: Medical Romance (aka M&B #56)
Listening to: George Harrison/The Calling at the gym
Reading: Eowyn Ivey, The Snow Child (enjoying) and Elizabeth Speller, The Return of Captain John Emmett (also enjoying) (former is my living room Kindle read and the other is bedside table!)

Thrilled to say that book 55 has gone through. Bound by a Baby will be out as a Harlequin Romance in the US in Sept 2013. (UK hardback is Sept but we don't have a paperback date yet.)

Busy day today with parents' evening tonight as well - and you know you've pushed it at the gym when you walk into the changing room afterwards and everyone looks at you and says, 'Wow, we can see you just had a really good workout.' I might've been a bit sweaty this morning... ;) Can recommend George Harrison for the cross-trainer. Kept me going nicely! Had a tough workout yesterday (running, then the stability ball with weights – that one was outside my comfort zone and I was very proud of myself afterwards, though I was sore this morning and really had to stretch).

What with Shakespeare at the weekend (with son and my BFF) and dinner out afterwards (with DH and daughter joining us), I think I’m on a roll this week…

Monday, January 21, 2013

grumpy grump grump

Current work: Medical Romance (aka M&B #56)
Listening to: not at the moment (another reason for grumpiness)
Reading: Rowan Coleman, Dearest Rose (finished and enjoyed, put a real lump in my throat); Sarah Tranter, No Such Thing as Immortality (nice debut); Allison Leigh, Courtney’s Baby Plan (enjoyed); Sarah Mayberry, One Good Reason (utterly fantastic – really emotional read); Lilian Darcy, The Mummy Miracle (enjoyed – excellent execution of an amnesia book); Robin McKinley, Sunshine (enjoyed very much and it’s a shame that she’s not going to write a sequel)

Well, the white stuff has caused utter chaos here. I’ve only set foot outside twice since Tuesday (Thursday, when we walked up to our hairdresser’s; and Saturday, when we picked up Madam’s replacement school sports shirt and did a little shopping – and yes, this did involve a taxi). Cancelled guitar on Tuesday (just as well, as Kett’s Hill was closed for being impassable and Norwich was in gridlock, so I wouldn’t have got home – NB, anyone who thinks that Norfolk is ‘very flat’ has been deeply misled by supercilious Noel Coward. It isn’t). School has been closed all week. My talk was rescheduled. Dance class was cancelled. Sainsbury’s cancelled my grocery delivery on Wednesday (but thankfully they did turn up when I rescheduled it for Friday). Son’s school trip to London was cancelled.

Disruption, disruption, and more disruption.

Yes, we had lovely, pretty wildlife in the back garden (aka two very handsome cock pheasants).


I would really like life back to normal, please. It’s been nice having the kids home, and I’ve enjoyed watching films with them (cough, and lots of Friends reruns – I have no idea why I didn’t catch it first time round, but I’ve really enjoyed the humour) and reading, but I need my routine back.

Yesterday looked really hopeful. It started to melt. But then it started snowing at 3pm. Fine stuff, so I wasn’t that worried… except it didn’t stop, and the roads are awful again this morning. DH went bossy on me and said not to risk it on the roads because they’re worse than they were last Wednesday morning. Rang school to report absence; littlest in particular is going to be very upset about not having a 100% attendance record, but we’re just not taking the risk (especially as son has exams this week). Rang gym to cancel today’s session – weep – and apparently not all the staff can get in, so I feel a bit less of a useless wuss. Tomorrow’s car service – well, I’ll talk to the garage later today and see how things are in the city centre. Provided we get no more of the white stuff, it should be doable.

Dear snow. You were nice for about 5 seconds. But please can you GO AWAY NOW?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I hate snow

Current work: revisions to HQ Rom/Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: Corelli (only thing to calm me down in snow)
Reading: Rowan Coleman, Dearest Rose (excellent so far)

Sooo… Paper revisions done; now to finish typing them up (and I might have to do some trimming!).

We got about three inches of snow last night (which looked very pretty, especially with the orange sky – sadly I couldn’t persuade the camera to take a decent low-light shot). But the roads were vile this morning. Now, I am totally wussy about driving in snow because I had a rough experience on the hill some years back (the one where I fishtailed down it, completely out of control, and hit the kerb several timesl then discovered six months later that I’d been driving two small kids around in a dangerous car as a result of said sideswipes – not the kind of thing a writer with an overactive imagination needs to know), but I managed it today. Have to confess that I swore all the way (today’s word of choice was f*ckwit – for the drivers who made life harder for the rest of us with selfish, inconsiderate behaviour), and it took three times longer than usual, but… I did it.

I was pathetically grateful that the person who usually parks near the junction at the bottom of the hill decided to be sensible and kind last night and park elsewhere, so getting to the junction was safe. Was also grateful that the man in the white van behind me didn’t live up to the stereotype and kept a sensible distance between us; although the road had been gritted, it was nasty to drive on because it had thawed slightly and then frozen again (temperature dropped 3 degrees between DH leaving for work and me taking the kids on the school run).

Cancelled - gym session (gym car park yesterday was nasty – today will be really vile and I’m stressed enough from driving in snow), guitar lesson.

Postponed - parents’ evening. (Yay for school being sensible, and also for giving reasonable notice.)

Still on (at the time of writing) – talk tonight at Norwich Writers’ Circle.

Coffee, deep breath, and time to get on with my work :o)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

busy - just the way I like it

Current work: revisions to HQ Rom/Cherish (aka M&B #55)
Listening to: George Harrison
Reading: Rowan Coleman, Dearest Rose (excellent so far)

Pump class yesterday (and my arms feel it today); dance class, too, and we started the tango! We did the progressive sidestep and reverse turn, which is as complicated as it sounds, so when Donna and Kirsty showed us, I thought we’d find it a bit tricky. But Donna’s an excellent teacher and broke it down, and DH and I worked out where we were going wrong on the turn (which is always the bit where we come unstuck on any dance).

My ed didn’t actually say no to my pitch – she’s asked for an outline, so I’m really pleased about that. But it has to go on ice for the moment while I do the revisions to the last book; and that’s good, because it means the idea gets a bit of brewing time. (And if my ed doesn’t like it, I might well self-pub it.)

So. HIIT circuits this morning where I had a new move added each time, and I was very pleased with myself – seven lots of 300m on the rower, and I kept my time on each circuit :o) And the burpees were low-impact ones so they weren’t as horrible as usual. I can see quite a big difference between what I can do now and what I was able to do last May.

Oh, and Tuesday. Caroline Anderson and I had a great time out to lunch (courtesy of me winning the gym's Christmas challenge and the kids saying they didn't like the menu - I wanted a fellow foodie to go with me, and anyway we were due for a catch-up). Good chance to talk plots. So it was work. Really it was...

We decided to go for what was pretty much a tasting menu. So the starter was a plank. You can't see it very well here, but it was pecorino cheese with chili jam on 'music bread' (basically a very crisp flatbread, a little thinner than a tortilla and a little thicker than a poppadom); mozzarella balls (these were particularly lush); salad; three different cold meats with olives and capers; plus a green salad with a very nice dressing.

Main (anticlockwise, from bottom left) was hunter chicken stew (nice rich gravy, especially nice with added parmesan); pasta alla norma (tomato and aubergine sauce); and wild mushroom risotto.

Served with focaccia bread and polenta chips (latter below, sprinkled with parmesan and rosemary).

No, we did not have pudding. No room. We had coffee. But the food was excellent and the staff were utterly lovely. The decor was lovely, too, very much in keeping with the building's history. Definite hit.

Righty. I need to get cracking! Have a nice day :o)

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Where is the time going?

Current work: Medical (aka M&B #56)
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: Cara Colter – The Cop, The Puppy and Me (enjoyed); Rowan Coleman, Dearest Rose (excellent so far)

Nearly a week since the last blog post. Apologies. It’s nearly a third of the way through the month. How did that happen?

What have I been doing? Um… watching all the Twilight series with my daughter (and my ed is going to say ‘ha, ha, ha – no,’ to something I pitched to her last week; as it’s blossoming in my head, I think I might write it anyway and see what happens). Shopping. Spring cleaning. The gym (have started my workout journal). Putting the finishing touches to my talk for Norwich Writers’ Circle next week (same day as parents’ evening, arrgh). Nagging son to revise (GCSE papers this week and in a fortnight). In other words, business as usual – busy, busy, busy!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Happy New Year

Current work: On holiday :o)
Listening to: Nick Drake
Reading: Shirley Jump, Mistletoe Kisses with the Billionaire (enjoyed); Henriette Gyland, Up Close (cracking debut); Louise Douglas, Missing You (enjoyed), Valerie-Anne Baglietto, Once Upon a Winter (enjoying)

Happy new year!

Once DH had finished at work, we headed for the beach as it was a glorious day. For the past few years we’ve been to see the seals at Horsey Gap, but you have to go really early or parking is a nightmare, so we headed for the north Norfolk coast. Quite a few people had the same idea as us, because everywhere was packed. But we noticed that the tide was out, which meant we could walk along the cliffs on a certain beach.

Guess where we went? (And no, sadly, we didn't find any fossils, though we did see the wreck.)

Driving home as the sky was deepening to pewter and the fields were turning to umber, while listening to Nick Drake's 'When the Day is Done'. was a little melancholy, perhaps, but very January and very fitting.

Righty. Gym for me while the kids are asleep, and then - see what we feel like. (I have a feeling it's homework and revision for them, and outline for me...)