Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Written in haste ...

Just to say total panic here. The deadline for you-know-what is one week away and I have my head into proofing and correcting. Normal service will resume as soon as possible!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Looking a lot like Christmas?

Okay - with publishers presenting their festive offerings and my local restaurant leafleting their Christmas Menu, it looks like Christmas now begins in August.

I'm focused on a date  much closer than that. The thesis has to be delivered two weeks from today and .... well, you've all seen a building site ,,,,

When I do finally get it done, the to-do list is a mile long, beginning with fixing the cupboard door that fell off yesterday, changing three light bulbs that require steps .. and please don't mention the tax return ....

One thing though - writing is there on the list. I'm even hoping, dimly, that there might be something fit to go to the publishers by, well, Christmas.

I can't actually promise that. But there will be writing. Books are definitely on that list. That is a promise.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Post from the Past

Another one from the archive again. I'm nearly done with the thesis, so then ....

In the meantime, this is from August 2016 ...

Stuff I like to put in books.

Write what you know. We've all heard that. But what about writing what you like? I mean things you like, not 'What you like.' Oh - you know what I mean!

I like to read and write romantic suspense, and lately some of the lighter holiday style stuff too - although it always has a crime in it.

But what about the other stuff? The small things?

I found myself making a list again.

  • Food - you know that already
  • Art - usually stealing it, but art is art, right?
  • Gardens. 
  • Old buildings - anything from castles to churches to standing stones - or maybe standing stones should be a category on their own?
  • Trains - you knew that too.
  • Sunny places.
  • Shopping
  • Galleries and museums
  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Books - and bookshops. And libraries.
  • Clothes - and shoes. 
  • Plays and theatrical stuff. And theatres.
  • Magic and illusions
  • The sea and the beach.
  • Spooky places - although I don't actually like them, except in my imagination, to write about. 

Some of those would make a plot of a book, some are incidentals - helping with the atmosphere. Could I make a book with all of them in? Maybe. 

I think it might turn out to be one of those exercises where you try to get a word like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious into a report for work. All right, yes, it can be done But why? 

I can guarantee that some of them will be in future books, Because that's what I like.

And there's no point in writing if you don't enjoy it. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Can I use that?

It's a short post today, as the deadline for the thesis is getting scarily near, and I have my head more or less buried in it, which has got me thinking. In the bits of my brain that still have room. Can I do something with this?

The thesis is about  WWII in Cardiff. I have toyed with the idea of turning it into a popular history and have had quite a bit of encouragement for that, but what about fiction?   I have a wartime family saga in the bottom drawer that is about twenty years old and approaching the size of war and peace - one of those books that don't know when to stop. Now I know a lot more, about the war and about writing. I have a plan for a romantic suspense which involves the war, but that is the military side - the one I want to go to Italy to 'research', but this would be a domestic one. So - another family type saga, maybe a whole series? Or  time slip? Actually I have a romantic suspense time slip on the back burner that might get written in another five years. The ideas are milling around. One of them might stick. In the mean time, I really must get back to work.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

From the Archive

Another one from the vaults today. Looking through old posts I thought it would be fun to re-visit this one. Gromits in Bristol, from the summer of 2013. There were 80 of them, dotted around the city and I had fun in the sun, taking photos of a few. Can't believe it was six years ago!

A Gallery of Gromits

Isambark Kingdog Gromit
Outside  Temple Meads station

May Contain Nuts - and Bolts - at the barrier at Temple Meads.

Bark at Ee in Queen's Square


Butterflies - at the Bristol Old Vic.

Salty Sea Dog

The King


Gromitasaurus - in the shopping centre

Launcelot -  in Quakers Friars

Collarful - in Castle Park

Bunty - with the Bristol skyline, outside St Mary's Radcliffe

Blazing Saddles

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Running away to conference

 I spent the weekend at my old university, in the company of several hundred romantic novelists, at the Romantic Novelists' Association annual conference in Lancaster. It was a long awaited and much anticipated break for me, although I now have to fight my way back to the mindset of the PhD, and get over the exhaustion! It was a fabulous weekend. In glorious sunshine, I revisited old haunts on campus and in town, watched the bunnies on the lawns, met up with lots of old friends, sat in on panels and lectures, ate meals that I hadn't prepared, took part in a panel on romantic suspense, with some other lovely authors, learned a lot, laughed a lot and helped write  a book in an hour. When I tell you it involved a mermaid, a set of handcuffs and a synchronised swimming team, you might get an idea of how mad that was. Most of the sessions were serious though, and some a bit scary, like how long it really takes for agents and editors to decide how far they will read in a slush pile submission. I enjoyed the session on writing crime, discussion of writing sensitive material and learning a lot about what agents and editors are looking for at the moment. Lots of people had one to ones with those agents and editors, with requests for manuscript submissions, so there were lots of happy faces. I also found that Never Coming Home was among the nominees for inclusion in the list of best books in the last 60 years, which will be part of the RNA Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year. I have no expectation of being on the final list, but to know someone had nominated me was a great boost. Looking forward to next year, when I might even have a new book in the works!!!!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Looking forward to research

I have a new passport!! The old one was very expired - I only found out when I tried to use it for ID to renew my membership card for the National Archive. As I haven't been able to travel for reasons of health and PhD it didn't matter. Now that the end of the latter is in sight - and I am panicking that it won't be done by the deadline, I've been cheering myself up with the idea of a holiday. Where, when, and how, and what to pay for it with, I don't know, but you can't have everything. As passports used to take a very long time and I had to go to the post office to pay some bills, I decided to use their renewal system. It took about ten minutes, including photo of me impersonating an axe murderer. And I got the new one back a week later!!!!! A Week!!!!

So now travelling is possible. I have a list of locations, as you know. Top of it is research for the rom coms, so anywhere on the Riviera. And Italy and Greece. And Amsterdam and Antwerp, for Riviera Rogues 4. I have that covered with a cruise next year. Yes, I know that's not the Riviera, but I have a plan ....

Now I just have to get the PhD done.