Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Date For Your New Diary


  •  Out 28 January 2011 - 
  •  From The Wild Rose Press


I received great surprise news yesterday. Flirting With The Fireman will be available 28 January 2011! How cool is that! The fantastic people at The Wild Rose Press turned it around super fast before the Christmas hols - and I can't wait to finally see it up on the site.

So if you have an Xmas Kindle or Sony EReader from Santa - I promise it's a good, fun read for your cyber bookshelf!

I won't labour the details on my week's bad news - about me getting stuck in thick slush and ice and water and being unable to move the car.

Or about the trauma of having to ask a pal's husband to come and rally spin it out of there.

Or the look on his face when he saw it sitting in the middle of an an iceberg.

No we'll step away. Fast. And pretend it did not happen. Because it still makes me shudder and cringe.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fa La La La La

Hello all.

It's official. Nobody loves us. The Scots that is.

Next and M&S and a whole host of stores don't want our Scottish purchases online because they can't promise to deliver because we've been so frozen up. The snow has sent us to Coventry!

Though actually it beats me why folk would rush online to buy their Xmas pressies when the poor postie can't even get up the path (apply braincells people!)

Yes we've had a thaw (a thaw that still involves lots of ridgy and hard to navigate ice) but it has meant I escaped the house via bus (hurrah!) Now I'm just waiting with baited breath to see what develops re the next big cold snap! Hides in terror. Quakes in fear.

So youngest has a sparkly new snowsuit (cute) and she looks snugger than a very snug thing
Tomorrow it's her Xmas party - please Mr Snow be kind. She missed her Xmas Concert! And there's a rumour that a jolly fellow in red will be in attendance (please note Next - if HE can do it why can't you?)
Eldest can't wait to get her ordered snowboots (very pink, very large)
Eldest can't wait until her Friday afternoon Xmas party (something to do with the multi sequinned dress in the wardrobe - diva, diva, diva)
And I have finished all my shopping (well I do tend to start in January) and tonight is my chum's meet up Christmas Meal With The Mums. Hurrah! Crackers, hats and mirth.

On an extra point - thank heaven for the ereader because it means I don't have to get out to book binge. It really is a wizard invention and I boggle at its wonderfulness often (snowbound readership potential abounds!)

So I'll love you and leave you. And lets hope - not too cold again, not too much white stuff please! My nerves can't take more.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cabin Fever

Hello Gang.

Did I mention we had more dire snow on Monday?

Yes it's true. Thankfully I didn't go to my old Hendon Times works' reunion bash on Sunday or I'dve been stranded in Luton muttering to myself clasping a hot chocolate. Missed the old gang however. Can't beat a bunch of journos for a few drinks and a lot of gossip. They had a great time without me and I've had the full debrief from a lovely pal (who didn't even dance on the table - we must be getting old).

Hubbie's car was stuck in Edinburgh though he did get back. He's going to get winter tyres fittes asap (yes, he's been reading the huge manual to get to grips with his traction issues - boom boom!)

And now it's starting to thaw.

The sun is out though my windscreen wipers don't seem to want to come unstuck or be resuscitated. And maybe if this keeps up we might see the grass again by March.

Yes. The snow really is that high. So high our drive is a toboggan run.

The school reopened yesterday. I also nearly lost the littlest kidlet down an uncovered manhole.

Now I appreciate what Santa Claus has to deal with. The man deserves a pay rise. Or at least a sat nav and a can of deicer for Christmas.

Hope you're all keeping warm. jx

P.S. I now have a whole new appreciation for gravediggers after the mammoth dig out fest in our road.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Clean Fun

Trevarno UK Certified Organic Skincare and Soap | Handmade Natural Soap | Beauty Skin care Products from Cornwall | Organic Cosmetics & Beauty

Since I am snowed in and stuck ... time for online Christmas shopping.

As a product abuser and a natural soap addict, I can highly recommend the link above. One word of warning; once bought you will forever after be spoiled. My faves are cedarwood and coconut soap and the lavender and jojoba one. They're deliciously good and the TLC cream is fab. Even my mum agrees.

Order now for Christmas! (And they're not even sponsoring me, I just adore them!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

White Stuff

School closed.
Nursery closed.
Milkman can't get here.
Can't get car out of drive.
No trains.
Thankfully NaNo is done.
Snow day ahoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow Is Falling ...

Snow is falling - all around me.

My garden looks like a Christmas cake and it just keeps falling. Today I finally hammered my NaNo into submission - so here's a track to celebrate (!) amid the blizzards.

Normally I'm the last person in the street to put up the tree, so posting a video is uncharacteristic Christmassy behaviour for November. But last weekend we did the whole Xmas lights parade thing so it feels okay to indulge. (I hasten to add that my tree does not appear until we are at least double figures into December and this will remain!)

So, to the video. Am I the only person who feels sorry for the woman on the sleigh dressed up as an elf? Is it having to sit next to Shaky that's making her quaky? Or his threat of mistletoe kisses? She really does look like she's saying bad things about him in her head. Personally I'd jump and make a getaway.

I adore this video. If only for Shaky's taste in Christmas jumpers and his finger-clicking dancing. Then there's the pudding-basin haircut children destroying their toys with hammers.

It doesn't get better than this. Or should that be worse?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gaspworthy Cover

Well. All I can say is those people at Embrace Books know what they're doing.

Very naughty. But very nice.


The NaNo Slump And Bouncing Back

The mentors for NaNo warned us - you might dry up, hit a wall. Great if it doesn't happen but if it does and every word is laboured that's okay, push through. At the time of reading these words I was gaily marching ahead. Whistling a chirpy song as I typed.

Then SLUMP hit. Oh boy, with a thump.

Last week I had missed days. Days where I didn't even want to go there such was my disgust. Times when what I was writing was so far into the pits it was down in the corner of the castle dungeon (the one where the tide washes in for extra punishment). Yep. Bad week. But yesterday I forced myself not to play hookie or think about it and just go for gusto writing (like I did on day one).

And slowly I'm getting back in the saddle of the daily try. Of course I know this story is not just a dog's dinner draft. It's a dire dirty dismal dirge and it will need lots of rewrite and much work. But that's NaNo. It's good to have a start. It's good to go back and refine and polish and rethink.

This is what happened with Nanny.

I rewrote. I started right back on page one and made it much better. It can be done.

So if you're on this NaNo journey and you've just hit a wall or pushed through with all you have. Or even if you've given up the ghost - well done. Writing is hard. But it's worth going ahead and doing it anyway! It's all about having the conviction to try and that is very BRAVE indeed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not Everyone Gets One Like This


It's only a very special couple who get this treatment - a special Mills and Boon cover made in their honour. But then William and Kate are very special! And they're living the dream.

While I'm not quite sure why I was sent a copy by MnBs PR people (who me?!) I won't look a gift horse in the mouth and will just celebrate anyway and post it up because it's a beauty.

Shame we can't read the book now too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Pinnacle of Brilliant

Since I'm NaNoFlagging, I took a break by reading Graham Linehan's blog (he brilliantly writes The IT Crowd). Read his excellent blog here. Anyway - I've pinched this clip because it was too good not to. Laugh out loud funny. Especially if you are bizarrely addicted to Masterchef *like me*. Can't explain the Greg and John addiction but I never miss an episode (especially if I have a tube of Pringles).
The IT Crowd will be on E4 on Monday at 10pm.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Write Or Die

Yes I've resorted to Write Or Die to keep me at Nano.

The thing is I am loving this story and I know it's working out. I JUST WANT TO STOP for a bit and get my breath back. I yearn for a few leisurely daydreams about these characters instead of  frog-marching them onwards with their arms up their backs. Though I am giving them a hard time which is good.

The trouble is I get guilt pangs and I think but the faster I go now the quicker it's over! And I keep adding a bit more.

The Write Or Die concept works a treat. For those who don't know about it, you enter how many words you want to achieve or how long you want to write for and then you hit WRITE. The computer will give you a telling off if you stop. The aim is just to keep writing ... keep it going. You can choose modes depending on your mood. But I find the screen slowly changing from pink to scarlet is a good one for me. If you hold off too long it will GOBBLE UP the words already written word by word. And when I use Write Or Die it makes me type furiously (reminds me of WPM tests in secretarial agencies when trying to get summer jobs) to see if I can keep on without causing the computer to tell me off. Go try it, it's fun!

Anyway, it's a great way to whip my behind when I'm grouchy about writing. Especially when you use the tough mode that eats your words up if you loiter! Who wants pacman gobbling up hard-won sentences? Not I!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Suddenly ...

Amazing what a week can do. My (at first uptight and nerdy) hero is now warming nicely. The heroine's a bit trickier but ... gimme time. I might even write more later just to torture him at a vital stage. He's about to make a big mistake and get into a lot of trouble.

Well, it's cold outside. Who needs to go out when you can annoy your characters instead?

Happily I'm also reading Trish Wylie's Charmed By The Billionaire Bad Boy. So I'm feeling very blessed with hotboy totty. Such trials!

You keeping out of trouble ... or causing some yourself? Or are you reading any heroes I need to know about?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Noodle Nano

Yey. I'm at 13k.

BUT. And it's a big but (notice capitals) I'm pretty sure it's about to go noodles up. Surely it must says Ms Pesky Pessimist inside me. I've stormed ahead and now it's all going to go dangly.

So at this point here's my top tips (prior to going noodly and losing it):
1 Just write it. Don't worry, be happy. Write whatever strikes.

2 If it's pants, don't panic, write it. Don't expect it to be good. Don't panic if its big yaboodire-as-a-dodo chow mein to go. It's good for the fingers and the pong of joie de vivre reeks large.

3 Sling in a corpse through the roof (this is my favourite). Surprising myself every day with a fresh twist. Ah well, a gal's gotta get kicks somehow when she's churning out 2k a day. Especially when it's pants filled with noodles.

4 Don't moan. Don't stress it. Just write a bit more. Take solace in the soaring word graph and ignore the conscience that's screaming that it's pants. Pants can be fixed and turned into hot pants (with enough natty snips and restitching). And obviously after ditching all the dried noodles.

Righto. Best go not think about it some more. Back to just doing it again tomorrow.

P.S. I must at this point clarify that a book wot I have written that is very close to my heart was rewritten in full several times. It can be done! Nano - we salute you!

Friday, November 05, 2010

My NaNo Strategy

I won't complain because I vowed to just keep on trucking with NaNo this week and although I have thought 'ugh' before I start each day it's turned out okay.

Sad confession time - I really, really wanted to hit 10k today.

Foolish, greedy - maybe? But I just figured if I'd gotten 2k down daily during weekdays then I could ease at weekends to give me some headspace before Monday. I'm a hundred under so I'm resisting complaining. I'm almost there but I am going to stop.

It's Bonfire Night plus a busy afternoon of being Mum Taxi. I'm going to quit at just under 10k today. But tomorrow I'm going to try for 3k. The Saturday 3k challenge. The aim of this being that I can then maybe take Sunday off and just chill.  A chill day is good for the soul.


Am I turning NaNo OCD bore? Should I just shut up now and stop the obsessing?

Or do you have a strategy too? Are you NaNo NUTSO yet too ? Discuss (!)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

'As if by magic ... the shopkeeper appeared.'

Once upon a time ...

I found myself doing spur of the moment NaNoWriMo.

It's all happened in a Mr Benn-type way (one minute I was minding my business walking down Festive Road and then yank - the fancy dress shop of NaNo pulled me in and I signed up!) I suddenly find myself in a new world of pantster wonder that's both thrilling and slightly perplexing at the same time.

Well it would be crazy to start writing a new book on 1 November without joining in the madness. So here I am (the last time I did it was 2004 and my but that's a while back). So bring on the safari suit, I'm ready. Or shall I be an astronaut?

Whispers lest Editor should crack whip - s'okay, revisions are almost pucker and coming your way!

Oh what a heady whirl (but I luvit). jx


Mr Benn images are copyright David McKee.
No infringement intended. I LOVE Mr Benn and always will.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Join Phillipa's Fun

My lovely writer pal Phillipa Ashley is kicking off celebrating a very special launch today!

Her book, Dating Mr December, the US edition of Decent Exposure (her truly fab LBD debut and Joan Hessayon Award winner in 2007) is out now! NOW! Go here to see it - amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and the Book Depository.

And (cough), ex-squeeze-me, how lush is that cover?!?

If you need more incentive then you'll be desperately excited to learn the book was made into a US TV movie (featuring some rather hot men) and you can buy the US DVD of the movie too...if you need any Xmas wish-list help!

So hussle along. Lots to see and do! Go find out more about Dating Mr December on Phillipa's fabby blog and website.

Will is well worth the effort. He's sitting on my keeper shelf as I write.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spooky!

It's pumpkin time (haven't done ours yet, but sooooon!)

Half-term whizzed by and is nearly over! Shock. And (rubs hands) I'm very excited that I'm about to start a brand new writing project. Yes, it's true and I'm so so so so keen to get to it. Can't wait.

Happy Halloween weekend. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marmite Or Magic?




Funny bones are personal things. So whether this is your own personal marmite or magic, let one thing remain - the world would be a very boring place without courting the daft vibe for a moment or two. Even if it involves crimplene.
Either:
A Enjoy
or
B Hide in the wardrobe.

P.S. Can we get him on the X Factor as a late entrant?

Actually scrub that - if I could pick one person I'd want to win the X Factor it's this guy...he always gives me goosebumps, he is my revisions cure it all (and I'm posting just to prove I do have good taste!) He's also on my Christmas gift wish list.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Inspiration and Mischief

It's not every day a world famous fashion photographer asks writers to send him short fairytales.

But that's exactly what Benjamin Kanarek did to celebrate his fairytale inspired 'Tale of the Unexpected' images  for Harper's BAZAAR Hong-Kong. So I pondered the beautiful photographs, let my imagination take a flight of fancy et voila.

You can find my mini fairytale here - The Mischievous Kettle.  Benjamin's magical photographs will have you spellbound.

Courtesy of Benjamin Kanarek - the original photoshoot story here

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aaaargh!

It's half term! Run for the hills!

No seriously. I love my kids to pieces. But...what about the writing, people? It drives mommy a leeetle bit bonkers when she can't get her fix. And tomorrow Daddy is leaving the house at five to work in London so we're talking hardcore. Pass the smelling salts.

I know I'm being pathetic but this is my blog so it's allowed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Super Fast Acceptance

I'm gobsmacked to report that I sold a story last night. Only subbed it on Thursday. New Love Stories magazine accepted Sweet Surrender, the story of a tasty chef and the woman who's after more than his pastries. I'll post the publication time when it comes. I do like nice surprises. jx
P.S. Oh and I must just say a huge thank you to my wonderbuddy Suzanne (who persuaded me to press send). You rock SJ.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Yes It's A Craft(ish) Post

I haven't posted about writing proper for quite a while. And this has been remiss of me as I've been meaning to. Several things have struck me of late.

For the following reasons:

  • Lately I've been revising several manuscripts for different editors. I've learned loads from both. I respect both greatly because they've taught me such a lot in a short space of time.
  • I've also been looking at old stuff that I'd written and hadn't wanted to ditch. Seeing it with fresh eyes.
  • I've rewritten some things because the calling came to get 'em out again.
  • I've gotten my personal goals in order. Instead of wandering listlessly I'm feeling the confidence, the excitement and the love again!

This has led me to some conclusions:

I've definitely grown as a writer but even when I think I'm on an up curve there's still more to learn. And how!

The things my writing mentor told me in 2009 have held very true (and some) I just didn't 'get' some of the finer points. Happily I now do, boy was she right! It wasn't until one of the editors working on my book said the same things in a different way that the point finally clunked home. I have a strong voice, BUT I've been doing things to jeopardise its strength and thinking voice alone is enough. And just to prove I'm no sissy I'm not ashamed to admit my foibles - too much narrative, explanations, repeating myself, not moving on quick enough, not making things happen or thinking high stakes. This doesn't just impact on flow and pace. It loses readers people! Finally the editor in question SHOWED me how to cut, cut and cut again for great flow. She did it for me (with my words) and suddenly the lightbulb happened. It was light floodlighting a football pitch. So much for thinking I knew writing before. Definitely a 'doh' moment! Flow and finesse is what we are seeking...so be discerning in the edits, make it sing!

Funnily enough the book that helped me 'see the light' is one that was pubbed before as a novella in an anthology. The difference now is chalk and cheese!

The supplementary good news that tags onto the above is that I can take this and apply it in the future. It's helped me tackle my other revisions without being daunted. I can SEE and FEEL the difference on the page. I know this sounds like waffle but it's true. I now recognise I need to cut HARD. And it's not as painful as I'dve once imagined. It's a brilliant experience.

So in summary for several years I was encouraged by my dream publisher. It never came to fruition. Since then I've loosened the 'aspirational drive' got back to basics with what I want to do (e.g. write the stories that I love). I have no idea if I'll ever stand a hope of getting dream publisher's interest again...BUT I know I'm more equipped than I was. I can spot my foibles and flaws.  I can feel the difference. And I would never have bagged Fantasy Publisher as I was.


In summary, sometimes God gives us what we need, not what we want.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Secrety Fantasy: Being Bob

This weekend I am reading Blythe Gifford's truly wonderful book, In The Master's Bed. Saying it will last the weekend is pushing it. I'll be at The End before sundown! And it's a really fantastic read, highly recommended and rather hard to put down. More here.

Plus it's made me wake up that this book obviously taps into a secret fantasy I did not know I had e.g. disguising myself as a boy/young guttersnipe in the hope of being unveiled by Mr Hunky. Yes. It is true and I just hadn't realised. So, I am asking myself, where did the deep, dark 'playing panto boy' fantasy come from? :) I have a rather strong suspicion it's Blackadder. Especially as my favourite episode is when Edmund falls for his 'boy' Bob. Plus Bob in Blackadder Goes Forth is almost as satisfying too...

“ Let me put it another way, Bob. You are a girl. And you're a girl with as much talent for disguise as a giraffe in dark glasses trying to get into a polar bears-only golf club."

I rest my case. 

You can see Bob and Edmund here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

French Fancy

If you haven't been over to Everyone's Reading yet then do do do.

Not only are these fabby freeread downloads from Mills and Boon but it's a proverbial choc box to choose from.

If you need more tempting then here it comes. There's Kelly Hunter's Exposed: Misbehaving With The Magnate. It's certainly a smackerel you can't miss. Let's just say he's called Luc...he's gorgeous, he's French, he's hot in all the ways that matter. Need I say more (waggling eyebrows). Go snaffle your quota immediately! Providing you like French hunks for free.


Friday, October 01, 2010

Buying Soundz

Yes I did go back to the supermarket (but I didn't self serve!)

Thanks to Rachel Lyndhurst (and the need to feed small girls who're having a playover later) I indulgently purchased Brandon Flowers' new album...couldn't resist. It's very good.

And the good times don't stop there. Because I bought Lady Antebellum too. Find out more about them at Wikipedia here. In my humble spring-onion I believe there are two hero worthy inspirations to be had here. Yus Mrs. And if you haven't yet heard I Run To You (shame on you) go buy it. And you will be doing karaoke within the day. I know I am. jx

See pics of Lady Antebellum here!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why I Hate Self Scan Checkouts

Yes I love the idea of popping through quickly with the four items I've selected. Why not? I'm feeling devil may care...

It's only a tin of spaghetti, ham, tomatoes, and an air freshener. How much harm can it do (cue Miss Marple music...)

Ooops no I don't like the way this scan thing won't recongise my item.Have I picked a dodgy one?
Beep at long last.
Ah yes. It's gone through now. Only three more items to go. Grin.

Eyebrows waggle. It doesn't like the ham either - it's refusing to read my barcode. Should I go buy them some Mr Sheen? Should I squirt before I scan?

Yes. It's gone through. But. Hold breath.It says it's not in the bag.
It's there. Honestly. Ham present and correct.
No I do not wish to have to  argue with a machine that tells me I have not placed my boiled ham in the bagging area (it's in there, I can see it - stop, stop, stop!) Everyone gather round, and bear witness to my ham!!!

A 'Seek Assistance' alert flashes. Are they going to bring on a straight jacket? The invisible ham squad?

Yes. Here comes dedicated smiley lady. I smile hopefully and explain.


The ham's there (see, pointing now, see). I only pressed the 'don't want to bag it' button as a last resort to shift the not in there screen. Should I then remove the ham? It scanned already!!! Is it up to tricks to vex me?

She says it's my fault for pressing the button. She thinks I am strange.
I stare at my ham. It's still there.
Does she not believe my ham was blissfully ignored? Is it Bermuda Triangle ham?

She scans her special scanner talisman and excuses me like a madlady.


No stop! Said to small toddler by my side...do not put your fingers on the bagging area! It causes impending doom...oh no. Here she comes again to give me a row about the tomatoes.She's glaring, shall I throw one at her?

I explain at length = toddler was bored and unduly tempted by the eye level curly wurly. In her defence toddler is losing the will to live much as I am. If the wine aisle was nearer I would be grabbing everything and scanning as I glug.

In summation it would have been quicker to stand in a very long queue for a checkout lady who talked like a budgie and crept at the speed of a sloth!

At last. Four items bagged. A proverbial feast! Finish button pressed. Payment inserted.

Again I almost forget to look in the 'strange place' they dispense the notes from. I already lost a fiver that way. Is it a ploy (hmmm rubs chin?)

Schoolgirl looks at me producing an unnoticed creme egg (yes, it's October but this is a Halloween creme egg for unwary parent pester manipulation and max enumbers consumption). Sorry mum, says schoolgirl, but I cannot possibly leave this consumer hell without it!!!!

I groan. I prepare for doom. I beep it (it works this time) and pay the money.I then scuttle away tearing out the door and vowing to avoid self service forever after.

But maybe...
I'll go back and buy an ironing board. In the hope the bagging area won't recognise that and I can point and laugh. Then again, maybe I won't. They'll say I pressed the wrong button again.

Annoyed Shopper. Having A Rant.
Again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nay, nay and thrice nay!

Okay...so there I was, using self timer on the camera trying to get a photo of myself for (cough) author purposes. Don't laff.

Have I mentioned the fact I hate having my pic taken?

Have I mentioned that when it comes to cameras I am the female equivalent of Mr Bean? (I set flash, it turns into deep dark blackness...you get the picture). Unfortunately I never do!

So after nearly an hour of click, click I gave up in a fume and decided to take pictures of Diva Tot instead.

Would she oblige with a smile? No! The picture says it all.

Then ping I take one of both of us and it's the best pic I've taken in years...only I canny use it. Because it has my teensy in it too!

Oh the trials.
Must now enlist a very patient and camera-savvy friend...sigh! Maybe I'll have to hire a stunt double!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blogging At Embrace Books

I've been blogging over at Embrace Books. It's lovely over there...the perfect place to indulge a few romantic fantasies...

So if you've a chance pop over and leave a comment, I'll love you forever.

There's info about the inspirations behind Nanny Behaving Badly. Plus, and most importantly, there's links to pictures of hot men.

I'd throw in free bubbly if I could...or would you rather have a latte and a florentine? Make up your mind on the way over, the air is laced with cake and coffee! Go here!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gasp! It's My Cover!

Just received this dazzler by email.

Ooooooooooooooo! Cover Artist Nicola Martinez has done a fabulous job for cheeky firefighter Rod and sparky librarian Flick's story - Flirting With The Fireman. I'm grinning because it's a kiss cover, with a fire hydrant!

And I love it. Huge thanks to The Wild Rose Press.

Wanna buy it? Sorry. Not quite yet...but soon.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bad Girl

Very excited to report that there's a blurb for Nanny Behaving Badly now on the Embrace Books website. Read it here. I'm just a little bit excited especially now that Nanny is polished and bedazzled and desperate to get up to stuff that'll raise eyebrows and set tongues wagging...She's a bit naughty in case you hadn't guessed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Strange But True

Isn't Feedjit fascinating?

I can't help but notice I get lots of international visitors (especially from the USA) for certain archived posts in particular. These are...drum roll please...

Men In Kilts: Because I'm Worth It

and

Porridge Baths (from when I had itchy skin in pregnancy).

I've also had interest in my Crimplene Gusset posts.

Perhaps I should be writing a romance novel with a kilt-swishing porridge mogul hero with a thing on the quiet for crimplene unmentionables? Hmmm...rubs chin.

P.S. Mr Beefy above looks like he might fit on all counts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Still Truckin'

I'm feeling a bit better this week. Still a bit stiff and have to take it slower, but better is better. So naturally the first thing I had to do was whizz by the New Voices website and vote on some super duper snazzy entries! Yay to all who've entered or are still planning to. Reading and voting is rather addictive and great fun. Also big bravery medal goes to Marcy who you can find in the warm and cosy section with From One Night To Forever (great chapter!)

While was I recovering, the inspiration fairy came to visit. So...I've lots to do. A new story to crack on with. I get a bit impatient to get it all down when the glittery stuff is in the air. And my revisions are coming along great with more on the way soon.

Plus I've been reading a rather excellent book - Catch Me A Catch. Get your copy here. Big congrats to Embrace and Wild Rose buddy Sally Clements for writing such a brilliant book. I'm very excited to get my cover. Sally's is a peach! And the book is just as scrumptious.

Busy, busy. No time for slacking!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Simple Things

Isn't it funny, how you try and try and worry and worry and then finally something clicks and you think 'doh'.

Of course I still have to write the 'clicked bit'.

But the idea is there. Pointing its finger accusingly.

Shrugs and shakes head at herself.

I have promised myself that if and when this story is complete, and the shingles are forgiving, I will buy one of those cupcake shaped soaps I've been ooohing over in the gift shop. Might even post a pic. Yes, I'm a woman of very simple needs. Usually focusing on the ritual of bathtime *I don't get out much*.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pathos With Pat Benatar




I got the laptop out to work on my book revisions and guess what was lurking in the CD player...my trusty Pat Benatar CD. Yum. It feels like fate.

Because I'm a sad old chick of the eighties this Pat Benatar song was in the charts when I was stuck in a hospital in Belgium nursed by nuns, no word of a lie. A school trip involved being hospitalised. So it's fitting now that I crank it up whilst ill. Back then, it was the only thing I could recognise on Belgian radio...it left a mark. A time full of teen angst and longings (my physio was a rather dishy footballer with a hero-worthy smile...yep, you couldn't make it up!) I was about fifteen at the time.

Anyway, here's the things I love about Love Is A Battlefield:
The vid is like a short movie from TrueMovies channel. Kinda cheesy but very satisfying
I love the movie sound effects. Drama, drama
The fashion is both disturbing and great. If I ever go out dressed like that, permission to handcuff me to the fence
I particularly like the dance duel element. Bizarre being the operative word. Reminds me of Strictly, was it a precursor?

So. When will the shingles quit the warfare? I can only hope soon.
Oh and I now have a book title for the bridesmaid book! It's a great one.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Crook

Warning; this is a 'me-centric' post.

It's official. I have shingles. And I did not appreciate until this week how horrid it truly is.

Can't sleep, can't sit. Can't walk without looking like a ministry of funny walks advert. Hmmm. Not good.

I can only describe the sensation as like having an army of invisible elves running up and down your torso with pick axes. Thank heaven for 'fell a horse' painkillers. And thank you for listening to my whinge-fest. I'll go now before I milk it too far but, trust me, complaining is the only thing I'm succeeding at right now. Laters.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Things That May Happen:

When your baby first goes off to nursery:

You hoover a lot whilst staring at the phone
You look a little lost, a little disoriented
You don't get any writing done
You don't even get any knitting done
You watch the clock
You take the phone with you when you go to the lavatory
You find yourself excited when home time creeps round.

Yes. These things will pass. But for now.
It's OCD Mummy without her munchkin time.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Knit One, Slip One

Hi All.

Well I've managed to get one set of revisions off. Still awaiting results (is that my own nails I'm biting or the dog's? It's ok. I don't have a dog before you shout 'ewww'). And I should be getting line edits on the next project in about a week.

So in the meantime I'm busy working out another story. There's some done and some still to cogitate. And I've found the perfect way to get my grey matter into order...KNITTING SCARVES. Helps me work out plot knots as I go. Two done and more to go...busy fingers keep the brain from frantic angsting.

If anyone needs a snazzy neckwarmer give me a shout!

Friday, August 20, 2010

What I've Been Up To

I've been missing for a bit, sorry. But I've been doing stuff (honest it's true). Here's what:

Revising Nanny Behaving Badly. Almost there and the weekend should crack it. This is when I love the e-reader like a beloved family pet. Even better I don't have to feed or groom it (just top it up occasionally with a charge). Could I really hack mega print out edits ad infinitum? Answer no.

Reading. The Beach Hut by Veronica Henry. It's a total gem. So if you're looking for a fresh read, and still want to revel in that last hint of summer. Go find out more here. Fabulous book. Edible cover! I must remember to post Veronica Henry's wonderful gems of advice from the 2009 RNA Conference, she was fabulous and this book proves just how great she really is. She's made me gasp aloud several times and I'm only halfway through.

Planning What To Read Next. There's a fabby offer on eharlequin for a discount on Susan Wiggs'  The Summer Hideaway. See it here. Guess what I'll be doing next?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Truly Scrumptious

Check out the new and shiny Embrace Books website here.

Prepare for a jaw-dropper moment. It's just gorgeous! Makes me itch to buy, buy, buy...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Back To The Future

I'm back from hols. And I'm waggling my tootsies in the warm pool of full cyber connectivity.

It's warm. It's therapeutic.Yes. I realised I canny hack it without broadband.

Thanks to well-wishers and commenters to the last post. Should've said the pics were Alton Towers theme park and taken by me!

I'm really really excited to be accepted to be published by Embrace Books. I'm also really looking forward to getting to know other fellow authors better and watching this whole launch unfold. It's going to be exciting! And the logo's lovely doncha think?

So to my other book news - I subbed a brides novella that the publisher asked me to expand. I expanded it. Doubled it actually.Then I subbed. Then I revised again. And finally I got a yes. It's a GO.

It's from The Wild Rose Press. Whom I've heard GREAT things about. And I'm chuffed.

That's two great publishers, two fabulous editors. Colour me happy.

So now I'm back to a big big big pile of washing.
And sorting out drawers and putting cases away...oh yes.
The good stuff is back. But mum has offered to cook us dinner and best joy of all. I have got internet. All to myself! Deep joy :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Big Scream!


STOP PRESS: I'm happy to announce great news...Embrace Books has accepted 'Nanny Behaving Badly'. I'm thrilled to be part of this exciting full speed new venture in digital romance.

I'm also celebrating a second acceptance for my wedding themed novella too which was also confirmed today (with another publisher, more news soon).

Talk about a fast and furious few days. Talk about seat of pants!

I'm currently on holiday. With minimal cyber links. So more news on both the above fabulous developments on my return.

In the meantime...here's a hint of what I've been seeing during my travels.

A fitting photo since submitting your precious writing babies can feel as daunting as a Yell-Your-Lungs-Out trip on Oblivion.

P.S. I refrained from the scary rides. I leave the wild tendencies to my heroines...though happily Nanny has found a home that welcomes her crazy inclinations. More soon. jx

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spreading The Word...

If you're a writer, or an avid romance reader, and you haven't heard about Embrace Books yet it's time to get clued up.

Go to the new blog here...category romance ebooks coming your way soon and they're looking for great submissions now! What ya waiting for?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To The Future And Beyond...

It's been a while since I posted anything useful/cogent about my writing. There's a reason for this. I have stuff out there and I'm waiting.

I'm not complaining. Nor angsting.
Not even email or blog stalking. I did for a while and then I slapped myself around the head. So now I'm trying to be GOOD.

And since I'm going on our family holiday in a weeks' time I doubt very much that I'll have much to report for the next few weeks.

But there is one thing I wanted to get off my chest. It's good to have things out there again. Good to let it all go and look to the future. I have WIPS and a sparkly new idea. I have things to be getting on with and I'm just itching to write. Did I even mention my youngest starts nursery in a month so I'll have a few hours...let me say that again. HOURS. Just to write (who needs ironed laundry and clean surfaces anyhow!)

Anyway. I guess you could call this my writing spring clean phase. Whatever the result of these subs, and I'll post verdicts when they come, I'm moving on. Because I've been stuck looking back for a while. And now it's time to crack on with fresh va va voom!

Of course doing it will be another matter entirely but indulge me won't you! Let me dream...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Edinburgh Ahoy

Today the kids and Grandma and I all went to Edinburgh on the train (cue whoops of joy from kidlets). But. Though I hate to complain. It...was...so...HOT.

Gorgeous. But clammy in clothes. Sunny in the gardens (with ice-cream melting down our wrists).

We bought shoes. Not for me for the mini divas. And came home cream crackered and ready to flop. Anyone would have thought we'd been proper shopping. Which, other than the not-for-me shoes, there was not a sniff of. Unless you count Claire's Accessories (sigh, there was a sale on, fill a bag for £3. deep, deep joy. how many high school musical items can one girl have?)

Though I guess HSM is her version of buying romance paperbacks.

Going to Edinburgh without proper therapeutic shopping...am I suddenly going soft?! Not even a book! Now that's shocking.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sucked Right In

Funny how some authors just suck you in, isn't it?

That happened to me yesterday. I went shopping (with the scallywags in tow) and as a private indulgence picked up Kelly Hunter's latest MnB Modern Heat in the trolley cart. Well...it's less calorific than rollos (click and read my good buddy Suzanne's rollo health warning HERE).

"I'll just read a few pages..."

Ha, ha. Now I'm six chapters in and vowing to finish today. With that big goofy smile you get when you're clutching a keeper.

Kudos. If you haven't relished all of the Bennett kids' books now is the time. Go buy Red Hot Renegade. Karate...muscles...Singapore...YUM. jx

Monday, July 12, 2010

For Knitters

I realised something quite useful this weekend. No. It's true. Sometimes that does happen in the fuggy child zone, sleep deprived daft mess that is my brain.

Writing is like knitting.

And for rather a long time I've knitted my books blind. Heck, I'm an artist (do I really need a list of instructions!) Seat of pants, balls of wool and a rough plan for a cosy jumper. Cue nights of feverish needle action et voila!

Aherm. That's all well and good...when you're only doing a scarf. It's not when you factor in a cable pattern. Or stripes (even stripes need a bit of order even if it's random). Don't even go to Fair Isle pattern or I'll cry.

Basically anything beyond a simple scarf needs a plan. Feel your way cable stitch is only good for grannies who can whip up a prize-winning balaclava in twenty minutes.

Am I rambling here?


Anyway. To cut to the chase. I've realised when I knit properly (with a plan, with proper editing)I'm leagues better than when I grab the needles and CLICK like a maniac!

How come this has only occured to me now. DOH! The good news is that knitting can always be ripped out when you find the perfect pattern. And instead of stitches lost, it's experience applied to better effect.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Cranking Up The N.A.C. Party

Okay...so let's have a Not At Conference party.
Just a small one. To pass the time and help us ease the monotony.

Bring some nibbles and a glass of what you fancy. Then drag up a chair...or join the conga. Here's 80s Diva Kim Wilde (with one of my fave party/character arc songs). You Came. Tis goooood. And I do love a woman with a thing for capri pants and boleros.

Now go shake your maracas.

BTW whadya think of my sequin strapless jumpsuit? All hand sewn too. Now all I need is a Gerard-Butler-A-Likey to groove with. Let's hope he's not wearing crimplene.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

When Feeling Blue...

There's only one answer.

Transvision Vamp. Played loud.

P.S. Sigh. Not going to conference this year and the crows are circling. Big time. Tide is high but I'm holding on. Hope you are too!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Pitch Wish

My lovely CP Marcy won a pitch place from the American Romance editor pitch on eharlequin - yeyey Marcy! Please congratulate her and wish her loadsa luck for the pitch tomorrow here! jx Her story is fabbo! And her hero is yum. Go Marcy!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Kidzzzz Off


Here in Scotland the school children are off for six weeks now. We don't go away on holiday until the end of the month. So today we've been painting ceramics at the local paint and play place. And mum got to sip latte while big girl created a purple pig and a sunrise plaque.

Much fun had by all. Now what to do tomorrow...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

How To Cure Email Stalker Issues


























Okay. So since I pressed send I've turned email stalker. One minute I was sane, happy go lucky Jude. The next I'm clicking 'check for new email' like a woman possessed. Medusa emerging when I see a new mail flash that turns out to be a circular about Cat Food (we once had kitties, I've forgotten to unsubscribe).

Anyhoo. Have finally decided it must stop. So here's how to avoid it.

1
Force feed yourself three chocolate biscuits with every click (sooner or later the conscience will kick in). Or your belly will be touching the keys quicker than your fingers.

2
Make yourself reread the chapter you were at in the book you are reading if you check your email again. This one gets me ratty because I love to read on...so consider it paperback penance for having no patience.

3
Both of the above at the same time. E.g. reread earlier chapters whilst eating lots of biscuits. Eventually you will be sick of the book. And be sick on the living room rug. No more stalking, problem solved.

P.S. I should add that I have no patience. I was the woman who had IVF treatment and had done double figures pregnancy kits before the 'official time to test date' came. Nuff said. Must CHILL. And when will someone invent submission predictor test kits please?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Rob Lowe Point


I'm avoiding the post-send demons and looking at lush pics of Rob Lowe as a diversion.
How does this man manage to keep so good looking? He was great looking when I was in my teens, now he's divine. Enjoy the view.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

For Pimpernel Fans - Go Ga Ga



If you haven't read the book, this will make you wanna (awesome, and that's not even getting me started on Sir Percy!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Revisions Sponge Analogy

Okay. So my revisions are done.
The manuscript is cleaned.

Bring out the party horn. Doodly doo.

But. Now I must wait. (Drums fingers).

The sponge cake must cool. A few days...maybe more...time to let it rest before the final feast (clear headed read through). Because I know there will be the odd few things I have missed. One more read. A couple of strike outs and I'm done.

Even though I'm itching to just get that little critter in the mail. Like yesterday. jx

P.S. I was most heartened to read Paula Graves say on subcare at eharlequin that it took her ten years to sell her first book. Phew...feeling better now.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Magical Books...






Sorry that I've been gone.
Various reasons including visitors, end of school mayhem and second revisions on a book. The revisions are almost done. It's a much, much better story for them (aaah the joys of a great editor).

And here's where I pick up a tag from Phillipa Ashley's blog. Thanks Pip.

Books that were magical/inspired me from childhood (prior to age 12):

The Magic Faraway Tree Moonface, Sylkie and Dick, Bess and Fanny. Many happy hours were spent reading about Pop Biscuits and the tree that changed the higher you climbed. I still have my original copy on my shelf!

Cinderella (the Ladybird book) – I loved this story. I particularly fell in deep love with the Ladybird book’s illustrations. Sometimes the old romances are just the best. Who’d a thunk I’d have kept this lifelong obsession.

The Scarlet Pimpernel and I Will Repay – I developed a Baroness Orczy obsession in late primary school. I collected as many of her antiquarian books as I could find. My dad and I used to go into Edinburgh to scour the old bookshops on The Royal Mile. I still have my trusty original Pimpernel book.

The Famous Five. Yes I loved them. Yes I wanted to be George and have a dog called Timmy. It never came true. But I walked in her shoes right through the series! Sigh.

The Giant Book of Disney Stories This had a large impact on my life. Largely because the above encyclopaedia sized book of all the Disney stories from Jungle Book to Snow White was given me by my Grandpa as a birthday gift. I never forgave my mother when I learned she’d given it to a charity shop. The wound still hurts. We don’t talk of 'the book betrayal'. Hehe kidding.

If anyone wants to share their tender years' inspirations please do and let me know you have also wandered down memory lane...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Babe Turns Three!





















  • Third Birthday: teensy toddler turns little girl.
  • Bespoke Barbie Cake in pink presented to mini gasps of delight.
  • Party snacks consumed and a fairtytoadstool tent still up in the living room.
  • Fun had by all.
Check to all items!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mojo She Wrote

Struggling with the writing mojo?
Finding it hard to keep pep in your bichok?

Fret not.
Jessica Fletcher, my much admired, TV heroine author and murder cracking genius has the answer. Direct from Cabot Cove.
Relax. Praise Abba.

Clearly that's how she manages her daily workcount on a typewriter! So I'm forthwith adopting this new regimen myself (once I find a peach or sky blue crimplene jumpsuit) jx




And if that wasn't entertainment enough for you.
I stumbled upon the ultimate FAN VID homage to Murder She Wrote. Exact in every detail. I laughed myself off the chair (so did hubby) but respect to the lady director who masterminded such a divine piece of art. I wish I'd thought of it first.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Primate Party!


Tonight we are going to a special night with the animals after winning tickets to a 'party night at the zoo'.

The mini-divas are very excited. Read HYPER.

They also solemnly declare they don't want to see any monkeys; they may be too naughty.

I feel exactly the same when supermarket shopping with children.

Can I risk a riot in the monkey house?

Hence I tend to be a late night or early morning shopper.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Stuff Wot I Wrote


I have to admit to being quite pleased.

Considering I haven't been 'completely going at it' writing wise (there's been family stuff, plus I lost my voice just to name a few novelty items added to the last week) I've notched up 20k in a week. And...it's not all pants. Who knew? It's starting to go somewhere...

Colour me stunned.

Plus rather happily I rechecked the email an ed sent me when I resubbed a book I have out there. And while my memory told me I'd hear back in July. She actually said it could be mid June. Place your bets on the tote here now....June or July? Personally I'm sitting on the fence and guessing late June.

Righto. Back to the cave. Which I've mentally painted pink and sparkly because that's the theme of what I'm writing (ggg). I do love a full throttle girlie splurge.

P.S. Pic is Kris Smith (Mr Danni Minogue). Rather effective as inspiration goes methinks. I also have a spongy-spot for a long-legged man in nicely fitting trousers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Can Dance If I Wanooo

Just had to come out of cyber hibernation to URGE everyones to watch Glee on Friday just for The Safety Dance and the buzzy feel good 80s memories it conjures. If you missed it go see YouTube. Terrrrrrific.

Yesterday I did 10k. See...cyber curfew can be good.
New story is burbling away (hurray for shiny new ideas!)
And today I have listened to the above catchy 'brain flea' tune way too much, but dash it's good!
Okay. Back to the cave of doom.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Heat!


It's gorgeous and hot outside and the kids are delighted making birthday cakes from sand and twigs!

So without further ado here's something equally 'scorching' to mull over while I'm gone to play in the sun and tackle my jungle garden with large metal implements.

This picture is from the Judy Private Swoon Collection. It has inspired many happy hours writing! A nude man with a coffee cup...sigh!

I'm afraid I'm going to be a tardy blogger now for the foreseeable future. Time is limited right now (see above clamouring kids) and between the family and the 'story bugging my head' I need to get to it. So while I'm gone take time to appreciate caffeine Lacoste man. And think of me fondly!

Enjoy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Knuckle Down And Believe

I've wasted time lately. I've been very very naughty. Refurbing the blog (actually that was great fun), reading loadsa books, evading the housework and applying myself to pointless tasks, such as daft cyber-linked chores like surfing You Tube (see my obsession here)! You get the picture?

I've been time wasting.

As of today. No more.

I need to write. I need to knuckle down and focus on the 30k 'Pants Personified' file sitting on my p.c. Even though it's pants I know there's some gold in there somewhere. I need to focus and get it into shape. I know I can I'm just evading and being pathetic. And yesterday I even managed to work out some pretty good backstory that works...so what's my excuse now?

Rubbishness. And now I must get tough.

You know you're procrastinating when you find yourself playing your daughter's Club Penguin and buying her new puffles! No more. I must must must do better!

P.S. Actually I've realised I shouldn't be too hard. I now have two subs out there, both fulls (one of which was revisions) and I got them in quickly after major work. So I guess I deserve jelly brain recovery time!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A New Cyber Look

Yes. My blog and web have a new look.

It's rather radical (for me). Don't be surprised if I'm still tinkering with it. But so far...I'm liking!

A bit like a makeover haircut to beat away the submission angst (and it's only been two weeks).

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Handbag I Had To Have

Back last year I blogged about a handbag. Here. Yes I'm that sad.

And I didn't even get said handbag. Because I convinced myself I needed an ereader more. And I was okay with that...until today.

I happened upon a Ness Store. Yes. With the handbag sitting winking at me. With money off. In the colour I wanted.

That's what's called, my darlings, kissable kismet. I'm a sucker for a 'reduced' price tag. Let me just bask in the glow of a new bag with my own name on it! The fact that I don't have a social life to use it in is neither here nor THA!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

EReaders and Speed Dating

Thought I'd post about reading. I've been doing a lot of it lately (in between subbing preps). And I wanted to write about my lovely pink ereader and other observations. The ereader came into my life in January and boy, it's a big part of my life now. It goes in my handbag like a little buddy.

I can heartily recommend one to anyone considering it (thank you to Susan Rix for first introducing me to hers at the last RNA conference! Big high five).

The benefits of the ereader as I see them are this:
For a writer the ability to upload your book draft and read it in 'almost book' format is a gift. It really helped me fine tune a manuscript I'd thought I'd already gotten close to good to go. Somehow reading in a change of format brings new clarity.

There were tinies I'd missed but seeing it in smaller page chunks in my hand really made a huge difference. It also helps flag up formatting issues you may have missed (stray tabs and such, there were two but at least I could pick them up without reams of print out and knock on impacts on the print out). I also love that I don't have to kill lots of trees when proofing things for others and myself. It's much closer to the 'book' experience too.

I love being able to get the book I want pretty instantly and just read it. I've never had any problems with downloading/purchasing new books.

I love not having to go hunt my choice down and go through pullaver. Or wait for the store to send it only to find out there's delays etc. Instead I just click it and buy. It's also making me more inclined to re-read books again I've read recently if they're keepers. I'm more inclined to dip back into a book I loved and discard one that isn't living up to its promise (this is new for me, I've usually been of the school of stick with it to The End). But now that's changing.

I really like that the copyright is so well protected with an ebook and yet you have the longevity of a book without the storage/spare room turned book depository issues. For a while now my TBR pile and stash of books has felt like a guilty pleasure. With each new purchase I sense the walls of my home getting smaller. I love the fact that I'm not giving away books to charity (not that I mind giving to charity shops, weeding out for thrift stores is almost a part time job with a toddler in the building, I just feel dubious about doing it with books when the author gets no royalty). I like the compact nature of the ereader where everything's to hand and it's really easy to delete/upload and organise my own little book world. Sold yet?

And finally on the topic of discarding books that aren't living up to promise. Lately I've started being much harder on my reading matter. And surely this is a good thing. If it's not got me by chapter five I'm moving on. If the heroine hasn't won me over, it's time to part company. Makes me realise how editors must feel...you've only got so long to keep me on side! But it's quite liberating...it's made me wake up to the duty to keep your promise to the reader. It's a powerful thing and a scary one too. It makes you think about sharpening up your act. After all, are we likely to buy a title again when an author has failed to deliver after our purchase?

So lately I've been speed-dating with books. Some I want to go out to dinner with, or share a romantic city break. Others I can't wait to shake hands and move on to a better match (not that I've ever speed-dated in my life!)

So how about you guys? Are you hard on your reading material? How many chapters do you allow before you turn your back?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Tomorrow, New York

So the Nanny book is proofed to within an inch of its life and read on ereader to make double, triple sure. And American spellings have been labored over (see, notice that clever thing I just did?) Humor me, see I can't stop it now!

Anyway. It's a big print out day today. So tomorrow it goes in the mail to Special Edition NEW YORK. Yes my hands will be shaking, yes I will be in a tizz. But then it's time to move on. Tie up a couple of other jobs on the list to create headspace for writing proper again.

I'm sure I won't hear soon. But at least I know I've tried my best. In the meantime, if this song doesn't inspire you to write NOTHING will. Paloma Faith rocks. Go buy her CDs you won't regret it.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Nina Must Read

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to read a book I devoured from page one to the end. Don't you just love it when that happens? It's currently on Amazon for pre-order (the North American release) so I'd urge you to grab your copy. It's Nina Harrington's latest - Tipping The Waitress With Diamonds! And it's just my kind of book. Snappy, sexy with a world so irresistible you want to dive in and stay.

Yes I have turned into a Nina super-fan (don't call me stalker) but when her books are this good why would you keep quiet about it? It's the kind of romance you don't want to put down and features restaurant manager Sienna Rossi and super sexy hot kilted chef Brett Cameron (who could ask for anything more?) Especially when you have a front aisle seat on their falling in love journey.

Let's just say the heat of the kitchen has nothhing on these two. And Brett is a true sweetie at heart. All I'm saying is I wouldn't mind being forced to revamp a down at heel restaurant with this guy. In fact I'd pay good money and bolt all the doors behind me.

Lots of deep sigh moments, lots of fun, great sizzling sensual tension. And anyone who writes a hero who sometimes sports a kilt deserves a gold star in my opinion. Because the world needs all the sexy men in kilts it can get. Nina, here's to another great book! Thank you for allowing me a sneaky peek. You can read more on Nina's web here...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Month Away...

Yep. My broadband was gone for a whole month. A month!
But it's back now (big squidgy cuddle of welcome!) At triple the speed (hallelujah and a big thank you to Plusnet).

How I ran, skipped and pounced on it when I knew it was back! I'm just sad that way I guess.

But there is an upside to lack of webby comms.
1 You can do a lot of writing
2 You can do a lot of editing
3 You can do a lot of thinking
4 You can do a lot of reading
5 You can even plot an entire book and firm up the old 'I will nail this' mojo!

So next time I'm finding it hard to settle and my wordage is slower than dial up internet. Guess what I'll be unplugging...

Of course I still didn't tackle the housework. No point in torturing myself too much.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And The Result Is...

A full request on my Nanny book. Super nanny will soon be taking a trip to New York (wish I was too!)

I'm still buzzing. But pitching is a great experience. With a most lovely bunch of pitchers and hand holders. It's a pleasure to participate.

Must now go and lie down in a darkened room and find my composure (wherever that's gone!) grin jx

P.S. Still no internet. But it's a fairy dust day so who knows...
P.P.S. All pitchers got full requests, which is just perfect. And looking forward to seeing my pitch buddies again on the boards!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shokd!

Found out that my pitch was picked for eharlequin's Silhouette Special Edition editor pitch!

Very happy.
But also very shocked. And nervous.
And very very grateful to Marcy. Who deserves lots of hugs and cheering for her amazing way of leading me to pitch right.

I'll be back when my head's stopped spinning. jx

P.S. No broadband and a U.S. editor chat. Thank goodness for family and good friends in reserve.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Joy Of Riff-Writing

Hi Guys
Apparently I am supposed to be getting broadband back as we know and love it next Tuesday. Let's just say I'm not counting my chooks. But we'll see!

In other news I'm currently doing a wonderful Writers' Univ course on Body Language! An online course with no online capability is tricky. But thanks to my dad's p.c. doable! And it's a terrific course. Body language, people watching, figuring stuff out that makes you go 'ah-ha!' frequently! And brings your characters' physical non verbal communication to life.

Which brings me to 'riff writing'. I only discovered this term whilst reading Elizabeth Lyons's wonderful Manuscript Makeover book. It's something that really connected. E.g. giving yourself freedom to sit and twiddle with your script, taking a lacklustre, static bit and trying to brainstorm it/up the ante/sling in fresh metaphors to transform it from a rusy nail into a gleaming pin that does more than just tick boxes. Hopefully it makes it pull the reader right in! Now that's powerful. And it seems to marry particularly well with body language...e.g. going back and seeing if you can put more on the page with body parts alone!

So. I've been riff-writing body language. It helps with the cyberless trauma. And it's wonderful fun.

The writer's equivalent of a good workout at the gym (not that I ever do THAT kinda stuff, too busy pretending to be busy). But you get the drift. I've been in the ZONE. And it feels mega! Suddenly one tiny little paragraph can lift a whole scene! Try it! Get those signals working, like adding final spice to a scene!

Failing that JUST READ THE BOOK or BOOK THE COURSE!

Now let's just see if I get my cyber world back as promised. jx

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Can You Hear Me Sobbing?

I still have no home internet access. This is getting really, really bad.
Though I must admit. I've written about 20k last week. And plotted an entire book.
I know - that IS impressive.
Well a girl has to get her fix somehow!

Am thinking of getting a petition together - FREE JUDY'S BROADBAND!
Will y'all sign it? Do I really have to BEG?!
jx

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nada

No broadband.

Am I weeping? Almost.

This is cold turkey with no warning. And still more than a week until it's all sorted out.

Oh the pain! jx

P.S. Am comforting myself with a divine Nina Harrington read (thanks Nina, wink!) So there are some consolations! And this one is a chef in a kilt (NICE!)

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Major Attack Of The GRRRRs

Last week flew by. Changing fifty zillion squillion email and amending my contacts for everything under the sun...and the moon. More hours were taken up than I care to think about. Let's just say my ISP let me down, then it annoyed me, then it made things a ton load worse and cut me off (because of their error not mine!) Big sigh.

So now I have all my details changed. On everything from blogger to banking to how to pay my holiday balance!Isn't life a joy!

Is it just me or is changing ISP possibly one of the WORST EXPERIENCES on earth. Yes. I'm very grumpy. But I'm looking forward to a brand new shiny ISP that actually cares about its customers and doesn't make me spend four days on the phone to India when there's a fault on the line.

Rant over.

Oh and I went to see Elkie Brooks who was simply FABULOUS. A great many black moment ballads with attitude were enjoyed! How have you been anyway?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Finally I Find My Hero


The Nanny book is now never ever ever ever ever going to be touched again (unless I ever get revisions, dream dream). My ducks are finally in a row in terms of being ready with a plan of action for subbing it. So it's consigned to the 'wannabe in waiting' file and now it's onwards and upwards with the writing.
So The Crazy Crofter book that has taken me an age to get my head around is now back centre stage. And it's funny but taking all that time away from it and mulling it has helped hugely. I suddenly see why I struggled, why I kept writing myself in circles - a lot of the elements weren't the right fit. And now I have better ingredients to work with.

One last indulgence on the nanny story. I happily happened upon an actor who fits the bill for Coffee King Niall Monroe, my Nanny book hero. Here he is...Noah Wyle (from the Librarian films). He's so perfect Niall it's uncanny. And finding him is the final part of putting Nanny to rest for a while.

So ladies, what do you reckon? Hot single dad in need of nanny attention?






















Friday, March 12, 2010

Super Marios!


It's been a hard couple of weeks. So here's my treat...
Marios Lekkas. He's very handsome, he's also rather young.
But I won't hold it against him because I'm worth it!
Yes, I seem to be having a weakness for those Greek boyz.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sick Daddy Pig

Daddy Jarvie is sick (the kids call him Daddy Pig after the character in the Peppa Pig cartoon). So Daddy Pig went and caught the toddler's virus (not a urine infection as the doc predicted after all). Said virus caused us to spend Saturday seeing emergency doc at hospital with a crying in abject pain toddler. The virus is rather gruesome: blisters on tongue, shakes and headache. And the only food groups tolerable to those afflicted are icecream and ham. So maybe Daddy Pig is an apt nickname after all.

Thankfully toddler is better.

Daddy Pig meanwhile is groaning and moaning from the spare bedroom (and not at my jokes!)

So again a non writing week. BUT I have done some writerly planning. This, my friends, is progress. I'm not normally a planner in the writing department. But I've been finding LISTS a useful release of writing-roadblock angst. And I'm nearly ready to submit again soon.

Hopefully the Pig Guy upstairs (I mean that most lovingly) will recover soon. So that Mummy Pig can get her hands on her keyboard again!


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Mini Bug

My wee one and I have some bugs going on. Touch wood the big kid doesn't have them yet.

No I don't mean headlice. I mean lethargy, fuggy head, temperature kind of buggy stuff.

So in the Judy Household this has meant:
A very cute toddler who just wants cuddles
A small voice lisping - "No feel well. I just want YOOOO!"
And no she doesn't want to go to Gym class because she went on strike halfway through this week. I knew just how she felt.
No writing for her Mummy
Lots of Peppa Pig
Overload of Barbie movies
Lots of drinks
Interupted sleep
Bleary eyes.

Normal service should resume soon.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Movie Made To Smile To

I watched Driving Aphrodite on DVD last week - during my severe bout of internet withdrawal.

It's great. Or perhaps it's just my strange funny bone.

A hero called Poopie that the heroine thinks is a Yeti!

So without further spoilers...in my view it's a recommended gently soothing kick back film. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sent To Cyber Coventry

Saturday morning my ADSL light was flashing like crazy. My broadband would not connect.

Imagine my chagrin.

No blog reading. No eharlequin fix. No email! Bah bah bah!

But hip hip horray, this afternoon order, and broadband, is restored!

I realise I have a serious internet addiction and cold turkey did not feel good. Thank goodness for Redcurrant Puff biscuits from M&S. They helped see me through.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crow Exterminator


Thanks Lacey *and Jackie* for the scarecrow advice.
I've been out and bought the outfit. (Oh yeh I wish I looked THAT GOOD). And I'm putting my writing DOUBTFEST behind me. Time to get tuff.
The crofter book is coming out of the dusty suitcase again. Bang Bang Mr Crow!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tied To The Tracks


So much for feeling contented last week. Just call me Mrs BiPolar.

Right now I'm itchy and high on dread mingled with pure adrenaline. Can't settle. Can't focus. Can't do much. All because I entered a couple of comps and the deadlines are looming. Like big cactus plants in my path waiting to prick my writer's bubble.

"Crazy, chill out Jude," I hear you cry. And I know you are right. But I can't chill. If I could dagnamit I would.

I've been trying to work out why I'm so uptight about it all and I've come to the conclusion it's raised stakes. More counts now than ever. I've been at this so long I'm feeling like I'm failing MYSELF. And that's a tricky situation to be in. When I started writing it was all for the adventure and the thrills. Now I feel like everytime I fail I let the progress drift - maybe what people once saw in me is fading?

Yep. The Crows Of Doubt. So I'm sitting beside a bucket. Wishing, wishing, wishing I'd never had the audacity to try. And that's just crazy coward-speak. To try is to strive for the dream. And the dream is the most important thing of all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Contentment

Just had to say I'm feeling so content.

I know. I sound like Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice talking about Mr Collins...
But truly. Life is good. My girls are wonderful. We've just spent three fab days of half term enjoying outselves together and FINALLY my nanny book is properly done. There were raggedy ends with it in my mind that needed tackling so every evening in the last couple of weeks, I've done it. It's finished, no more touching. Even the beginning is tweaked in the way I want it to be. I'm now content.

So what else can make a girl feel this way? Committing to a new book on the horizon...yes, that too.

And three more things.
Love, reading and chocolate. It's almost Valentines I have all three. Delicious.

jx

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A Very Special Book

This weekend I've read a terrific book.

A One-Of-A-Kind Family by Holly Jacobs in Superromance. Fantastic.

I cried twice. And I'm a non-tear-shedding reader. By the end I was in full sob flow. Wow.

It's a very special book and it deals with a subject very close to my family's heart. Learning difficulties/special needs. It's nice to pick up a book that relates to an important part of your life and yet does it more than justice. She deals with a topic that really pushes buttons; when to push for more independence, when to pull back through fear of the hurts of the big bad world! As a mum with a special child in mainstream education I found it just brilliant and very thought provoking. Hearts were on the line at every chapter.

In my dreams I'd write a book like this. But Ms Jacobs has done a brilliant job. And if you need proof, read it too.

P.S. If you need extra incentive, click just to see the gorgeous cover! Liam is drop dead delicious. And his brother is wonderful too.
jx

Saturday, January 30, 2010

BELIEVE!

Lately I've been thinking I'm having a 'wobbly' start to the year on the writing front.

Hardly surprising really. For years 'Mills and Boon' publication was my dream, my goal, the thing I wiggled my toes about under the bed-clothes just before I fell asleep. Truly. I love Mills and Boon books from the heart. So when I got an R with no comps slip last year while I took it on the chin - hey I'm a veteran of writing now girlies - I think I then got delayed traumatic shock. Where had my dream gone? What would I do? Of course I did what any addict does, I transferred my addiction elsewhere pronto to avoid the emotional strain. And even when that rejection said good things I then got that confusion void.

So cutting to the chase. The mojo has needed serious counselling. A serious Stephen Covey meets Romance Diva motivational top up!

And it's with a great sense of renewed faith that I refer you to the wise words on Pat White's website. Rejections are 'road sign posts' to your goals. Don't take it personally. And tomorrow you may well nail it because it's about 'what's selling now'. Use this knowledge and continue. How true is that! How cool is that! I should add that Pat reveals in her website that she was a six time Golden Heart finalist. Wow.

In essence hang onto the good comments and keep at it. Take heed of the signs and let them guide you forward.

The truly lovely Nina Harrington also told me of the many books she'd written before her wonderful sale of Always The Bridesmaid (and what a wonderful book that was!) I suppose it's all about growing, learning, serving that important apprenticeship with your own creativity. Just doing it. Believing. Nina's route map changed but she kept one constant her focus. THE WRITING. She used the signs to go forward!

I have a lovely signed book from my biggest writing inspiration to date, Michelle Styles that just says 'believe!' How true!

So now I feel guilty for going 'foggy' and 'wimpy' again. 'Determination' must prevail.

I'm back to reading those signs and chanting the positives from those three motivational authors. Onwards I go with vigour.

January Results:
Not so much blogging. Not so much web surfing.
More writing done: one submission made with another in prepartion.
New project started (yey!)