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AWARD WINNING AUTHOR

Writing in the Sunshine. Writing in the Shadows.


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Weather? Or Not ...

I've blogged before about weather in books, but I'm coming back to it again, probably because of the weird changes of weather we've been having in the UK lately. I mean - snow on 1st April and summer on 19th?


When I created a freak snow storm  for the Christmas novella I did it with tongue in cheek, and then nature follows art ... I'm currently editing and re-writing Riviera 2 with sun and fine weather, so here's hoping. I'm also playing with a short story that features a thunder storm. I don't think I've ever written thunder and lightening before.


As I say, frequently, I don't usually do bad weather in books, I like even my murder to be sunny, but a Christmas book rather calls for snow. And. of course, all kinds of weather can be useful to a writer. Like everything, it just depends how you use it. The 'good' side of snow is the cosy element, children playing, hot chocolate, being indoors and watching it through the window - then there's being out in it - cold, miserable and dangerous, and there's plenty of that in What Happens at Christmas. Just ask Drew!  


The Riviera books are, and will be, if I keep writing them, solid sunshine, although there may be some dark deeds going on as well as the fun and the romance. For the romantic suspense - well I like good weather in those too. And the contrast between sunshine and nasty goings on can be very atmospheric. I mean, have you ever had one of those times in your life when your world is falling apart and the sun is shining and everyone else is going around living their normal life and enjoying it? Yes, that.


If you're writing a full length book you can be with your characters for a long time, which is why I can't write unsympathetic leads. Or, rather, I don't want to, although they are popular at the moment. If I'm spending all that time with these people, then I really need to like them. The villain is different - don't ask me why villains are fun to write because I don't know, and when you think about it, it's a disturbing idea, but that's just how it is.


And the same with the weather. If I'm in this book for a long time, I'm going to have some sunshine while I do it, even if it's tipping down outside.


Now, about this thunder storm ...

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Among the flowers.

It's time for what appears to have become my annual blog canter around the things that took my eye at the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show, in Cardiff. I had a great day, even though the weather was not particularly kind. It didn't rain on the day, but it had been raining all week before, and the ground was very soggy. I got an e-mail the day before reminding me to wear stout shoes - these days all my every-day shoes could be classed as 'stout' so that was not a problem. I must admit that if you stood still long enough there was an ominous feeling that you might just slowly sink into the ground. But that might have been author's imagination. As I said, I had a good day, came home with some loot, but managed not to spend too much on what would only become  gourmet dining for my slug and snail population. I replaced the scented geranium that had died as the result of the snow and a bought it a friend with pretty pink and white flowers and also some seeds that I will start off in doors. By the time I put them out I hope they will be too big for the snails to find tasty. My complete indulgence was a metal leaf with a quote from Shakespeare on it, which is now on my desk, to inspire me.

But the day was undoubtedly all about the flowers - not just because there were some beautiful ones on display, but because the show gardens were - well let us just say they were not to my taste. Concrete and rusty corrugated iron does not do it for me, but to each his/her own. I could have happily brought home a few of the summer houses though. I have the space, but sadly, not the dosh - still, they were lovely, and everyone can dream.

So now - the pictures...... I have to say, things seems to be a bit pink ...

This is what's known as lasagna planting - in layers, so the bulbs come up
one after another in the same pot. I keep meaning to have a go.


Not flowers, but aren't they lovely? Wish I could still grow tomatoes.
(See slugs and snails, above)

Gorgeous - and the scent

Dianthus - aka Pinks. And as you can see - lots of pink.  


I always mean to attempt a planting like this. One day. 


Peonies - said to the the favourite flower of a certain royal bride-to-be
and likely to appear in her wedding bouquet. We'll have to wait and see. 



Not flowers, but I had to take a picture - large chess sets have slightly creepy overtones for me, which I suspect comes from watching 'The Prisoner' at an impressionable age!

A lastly - a hot tub - what every author needs, along with the summer house?
This one is definitely going a book sometime.
 Including the floating tray, to hold the champagne! 



Wednesday, 11 April 2018

What did you read today?

I have to have a book in the process of being read. If I don't I get decidedly twitchy. But reading isn't just books. Think of all the other things you might read in a day:

The blurb on the side of the cereal box
The destination on the front of the bus
The instructions on the flat pack furniture
The ingredients in the recipe
The address on the letter
The sign on the door
The warning poster
The text that says 'I love you'
This blog
The church clock
The railway sign
The holiday brochure
The commemorative plaque
The file on the desk
The cast list for the play
The inscription on the gravestone

There's a story in there somewhere. The story of a day?






Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The fine art of hoarding

Are all writers hoarders?

This one is. Ideas, useful (or useless) information. Scraps that might lead to a book. Usually in paper form. Which means the house is full of notes, post-its, cuttings from magazines - or the whole magazine - maps, pictures, leaflets, catalogues, postcards, programmes ... And don't get me started on the recipes torn out of magazines. They have nothing to do with the writing, or not usually, just that I like to cook - not that I often try them out. They're just there - hoarded.

A writer's hoard 
I think hoarding may also be hereditary, because both my parents were hoarders, in their respective fields - which means, unfortunately, that I have inherited both their habits and their hoards.

Mum was a dressmaker, so she stashed fabric - usually bought in sales. During the war she had enough stored away to clothe my grandmother and my aunt, as well as herself, for the duration. I have picked up the habit and now have my store and hers. Including two potential winter coats. The store also extends to zips and buttons  - no outworn garment was ever allowed to get away with those in place - recycling, before it was fashionable. I also have knitting wool - going to have to learn to knit at some stage, and dress patterns. Not always with all the pieces. 

Dad was a builder - same applies. Nuts and bolts, screws and nails, locks and keys, wall and floor tiles, pieces of wood ... I could go on. If anything fell apart, he usually had something that would fix it. I don't have quite so much in that line, but some. I do have a garden drawer though - gloves, secateurs, string, lots of string, partly used seed packets, labels ... 

It might come in useful one day - the story of a hoarder's life.

And one day that scrap of paper might turn into a book ...