Wednesday 25 July 2018

Conversations you never had

Everyone who has ever lost someone they love will probably know what I mean when I talk about those conversations you wished you could have had. Sometimes these are really big things - like saying you're sorry, when your last words were spoken in anger - or 'I love you.' when it wasn't put into words. Those are the ones that can haunt people and, I have to say, the ones that books are often built around.

Some conversations are not so momentous, but still bring an ache to the heart. At the moment a Hydrangea is flowering - magnificently - in my garden, and every time I look at it I think of my mother. And wish I could show her how well it is doing. 

I bought it as a small plant about five years ago. I don't remember where, but from the colour, I'm guessing it was from an RHS Flower Show. I kept it in the garden for two years and both years it struggled- the new fresh leaves being eaten by slugs and snails before they could develop. It hung on, as a set of stalks, and broke my heart every time I looked at it. In desperation I asked Mum if she would give it a temporary home for the summer on the window cill outside her flat, in the hope that it might grow enough there to defeat the predators. She did, and it thrived. She died that September, but the plant had done what I hoped and beaten the slimy, hungry bullies. It's beautiful now, and I wish so much that she knew that our plan worked. Every time I look at it, I think of her.

The conversation I never had with my Dad is more complicated. Like many of his generation he never spoke much about his war experiences, but I knew he had been in Dunkirk, then North Africa and finally Italy. He died before I ever traveled to Italy, so I never got to ask him about the places that he might have seen that I had now visited. All I have is a handful of old photos. I'm trying to piece together his war record, as I want to use it in a book - and give a second life to those old photos. It's coming together, but it's a slow process. It would have been so much easier to ask him. 

Neither of those conversations is momentous, but they are still a source of a small ache of regret.  You can never say everything you want to and I have no regrets over the big things. But if it's in your mind then say it, or ask it, if you can - you might not get another chance.

Monday 23 July 2018

Stop press

Kobo has a 'Read on the Beach' sale on now - Summer in San Remo for your e-reader at 99p.

Check it out here

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Writing outside the comfort zone.

Writing short stories is not my medium of choice - I tend to write long and have trouble sticking to a word count - but I do have a go from time to time, because it's good to have a little stretch now and again. I'm telling myself that about the PhD too - I think I may  be deluding myself - that one is a Very Big Stretch. Anyway, back to the short stories - I'm OK if I have an idea that I think will work in a smaller space, so when I had an invitation to write a story for Your Cat magazine and an idea came to me - well, I won't say it was easy, but I wanted to have a try. I'm happy to say that the story worked out fine and was almost bang on the word count, once I had finished it, so I was very pleased with myself. Set on the Riviera, it features a black kitten and a heroine recovering from a failed love affair. It was fun to write and I hope it's fun to read. It's in this month's edition of the magazine and I was thrilled with the quirky illustration they have used, which exactly fits the tone of the story. You'll have to judge whether the thing works for you - I'm biased.  

The other thing outside my 'comfort zone' that I've been thinking about lately, is the tear-jerk moment. There's an old saying that is something on the lines of  - if you can make your reader laugh, that's good, but if you can make them cry, that's better. Now this I am not too good at. I might do it unintentionally, but when I'm actually thinking about it, I would rather scare my reader with the creepy stuff than make them weep buckets. But I do like to please my readers, so I am going to give it some thought. I don't imagine it is going to happen overnight - it took a while to get the hang of the short story thing, but it will be on the agenda. Of course at the moment I'm not writing a lot - see PhD, above, so this will give me more time for the idea to marinate. 

That's what I'm telling myself, anyway,       

Wednesday 11 July 2018

A Red Letter Week

I had a lot of fun last week, beginning with the launch of a paperback book for the first time in  five years. Launch day - on Tuesday - was all about social media and in the course of the week I was also the Choc-lit Treat and featured on the publishers' blog, talking about my criminal tendencies. You can probably still catch that, if you're quick. There's a link at the bottom of the page. The Choc-lit Treat is a piece of flash fiction that arrives on a Friday, around coffee time. You have to be signed on to receive them - if you haven't done that already, why not? The treat was little introduction to the hero of the book I'm working on at the moment - the one that is going slower than a sloth - it's a Christmas story, although it is going to be Christmas 2019, not 2018! At the moment I'm blaming the weather - not conducive to thinking wintery thoughts. When the heatwave is finally over, I shall have to think of something else. Before Michael/Mickey gets his story though, we have Nadine and Ryan in what is currently going under the title of A Wedding on the Riviera. That's if the Choc-lit Panel like it of course. Fingers crossed on that.

With Laura and Mel at Griffin Books. 

If you happen to be a cat lover and read Your Cat Magazine then you'll find that there is a feline themed short story in there from me this month. Set on the Riviera - where else - it features a small black kitten with a very distinct personality. It was fun to write, so I hope it is also fun to read.

On Saturday I spent the morning at the fabulous Griffin Books, in Penarth, with fellow author Laura Kemp in a 'Meet the Author' morning, as part of the Penarth Literature festival. To say we both had a great time might be a bit of an understatement. The shop was buzzing and we got to chat about books to a lot of interesting people. The scent alone - new books - was like catnip. Two hours flew by. Many thanks to Mel, the owner, and her staff, for making the thing happen and for being so welcoming. It would be really lovely to do it again some time.

The Link for the Choc-lit Blog is HERE

If you want to sign on for the Choc-lit (and Ruby) Treats, you can do it HERE

Friday 6 July 2018

Stop press

Today I'm the Choc-lit treat - a short story in your in box at coffee time on a Friday - if you're not signed on for them, you can do it HERE

My little story introduces Michael aka Mickey - who might just re-appear at some stage in the future.

I'm also going to be at Griffin Books tomorrow morning - Saturday - as part of the Penarth Literature festival - hope to see you there.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

You never expect the unexpected...

When Out of Sight Out of Mind came out as a paperback in 2013 I never imagined that it would be five year before I'd hold a paperback that I had written in my hand again.

Back then I was expecting there would in due course be another romantic suspense, and another, and another and Summer In San Remo was going to be a piece of frivolous nonsense - a distraction for the summer - what suspense writers do when they let their hair down.

Well, you all know how that turned out.

Yesterday Summer in San Remo came out as a paperback - and I really hope that it is NOT going to be another five year before that happens again!

It's not all bad though - in the interim the Riviera Rogues were born. I'd had such fun with Cassie and Jake that I didn't want to let them go. Their love story is done, but why couldn't there be other couples getting their happy ever after on the Riviera - and as Jake is the boss of a detective agency ...

So - there will be a series. At the moment it is moving at the pace of a sloth that is working to rule (Can you tell that I was a shop steward in a previous existence?)  but once the PhD is done - and it has to be written in the next few months - then all my creative time will be for my writing. More Riviera books and more romantic suspense.

Isn't that a scary thought?