Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Holiday Blues?

January is traditionally the time for heavy advertising for holidays. I can remember when I was a kid the adverts on the TV on Boxing Day were always holidays, and there were pages of adverts in the Christmas TV papers too. In those days it was more likely to be Butlins and Blackpool rather than trips abroad. Yes, I am that old. With a new year, a few brave brochures trickling through the letterbox, intense fedupness with the same four walls and the prospect of vaccinations as a tiny speck of hope on the horizon, I've been thinking about my bucket list. It won't be for a while, but I am sort of making plans. Or maybe thinking about making plans? 2022 Maybe?

I have to say, I am a little worried about the big world, not having been much further than ASDA for nearly a year, not even into Cardiff! I expect I shall get used to it. So - what's on the list?

Cardiff first - baby steps!

Then in no particular order - 


Bristol - for my favourite fish and chip shop and the Egyptian galleries at the Museum - research for the book after this one. 

Bath - my second favourite fish and chip shop, the theatre and shopping

Oxford - I have my eye on the Pre-raphaelite exhibition at the Ashmolean and made a tentative date with a friend for viewing and afternoon tea, but really not sure if that will happen. Probably a bit too soon for jabs and relaxation of rules.


London - for theatre, bookshops, museums galleries, concerts - you name it - and events for the Romantic Novelists' and Crime Writers Associations. My London trips have been one of my greatest lockdown losses - I usually make at least half a dozen a year. The last time I was there
was 29th February 2020, at the National Archive in Kew, doing a last minute sweep for references for the PhD. I had a  lovely day - archives being one of my catnips. And then the world turned upside down. I miss it.

I also want to go to Scotland - I've never been and I have a family pilgrimage I want to make, I'll tell you about that another time. And Cornwall, ditto - but no pilgrimage. 

The trips abroad would fill a page - but the Riviera, of course, is top of the list and I do have a holiday paid for and 'banked' as it were, so I do hope I can make it. The other place I have a hankering for is Paris. When I lived in London I sometimes used to hop on the Eurostar and go for the day, but that was a long time ago now. I have a whole list of things to see from the Pere Lachaise Cemetery to the Cire Trudon shop selling specialist scented candles. I could get them here, but somehow the idea of buying them in Paris has taken hold. I also want to go to some of the places mentioned in Eloisa James's memoir of her year spent living in the city, Paris in Love. That would be following in the footsteps of my heroine Nadine, who did the same thing in A Wedding on the Riviera

Will I make it? Who knows? Maybe not this year. But soon? 

I'm also interested, if anyone would like to comment - what's on your bucket list? 


Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Peaking too soon?

 I'm on the home stretch with the first draft of the WIP - at least, I hope I am, but I have a dilemma - have I placed 'the dark moment' too early?

The dark moment, as you might guess, is when all seems to be lost - in romance it's usually a big emotional bust up  where the love affair is heading for the rocks, - before it all gets sorted out  for the Happy Ever After at the end. I have a few threads going on with this WIP - romance and suspense of course, but there is a secondary mystery as well to sort out about the villa that the heroine has inherited and some romantic poetry written by a contemporary of Byron and Shelly. That bit is totally invented, although it is plausible, as Liguria was a favourite place for the Romantic poets. It was there that Shelly drowned, a little further  down the coast at La Spezia.  But I digress.

I've put the dark moment for the romance first, followed by the mystery solution. I'm also happy to say that I've worked in excursion to Nice for Megan and Gideon, to be guests at Nadine and Ryan's wedding. How's that for cross referencing! I have another 'dark moment' right at the end, but that is the suspense one, with the final confrontation with the villainess. Really there is probably nothing darker than someone trying to kill you. (I'm not giving anything away mentioning the villainess, by the way, as in this book you know who she is from the start.)  It feels like the right order now, but I originally intended to solve the mystery bit first, so I am wondering if I have got it right. 

Actually - as I am writing this, I've thought of a slant that will give something extra for the suspense moment, if I can make it work. Blogging can loosen the brain cogs. 

I dare say that if she doesn't like the order my editor will say so, if and when it gets that far, and I can shuffle it around again. If I don't decide to do it myself in the next draft. 

It's a complicated  business, this writing lark