Wednesday 30 November 2022

A quick round up

 Not a long post today. I'm in the middle of the first round of edits for Riviera 4 - Masquerade on the Riviera  - and also have several medical appointments in the diary. Nothing serious (I hope)but necessary and a bit distracting.

The edits are mostly threads that my editor wants re-directed or given more emphasis, a matter of unwinding and rewinding to make a slightly different shape. I'd like to get the book done before Xmas, but we shall see.

In other news I had a great time at Rhiwbina Beans the Saturday before last - met some interesting people and had a lot of fun. If you were one of them, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks to Phil for letting me loose on his customers!  

I have a fancy new fence, to one side of the garden, which I am very pleased with. Hope the other side will be done in the new year. Next week it's the bathroom floor - about time - and then I will have one element of the great house renovation completed. There may even be pictures!

I still have a long way to go though, and the little pot of rainy day money is fast disappearing. There is a lot of decorating to do, and that I'm afraid, is down to me.  

I foresee a large number of paint brushes in my life in the near future. 

Wednesday 23 November 2022

A touch of the supernatural

 It's a conversation I have with fellow authors from time to time - how far can you include supernatural/paranormal elements in your writing? How much woo-woo is too much? Publishers notoriously don't like it - it's not supposed to sell books. Yet writers enjoy writing it and readers don't seem too adverse to it. Hence those conversations. Ghost stories are popular at Christmas. Podcasts investigating strange phenomena proliferate. A few writers - Barbara Erskine comes to mind - are very successful with novels that include something 'other'.

It's a genre that attracts me as reader and writer. I've done a number of courses, mainly with a folklore bias, that I have plans for in the future. I'll have to decide how I'm going to handle that. With incidents that might have a mundane explanation as well as a more spooky one? Certainly there is plenty of material on the Internet, specialist magazines and whole bookshops dedicated to the occult to prove that there is an interest out there  Clairvoyance, tarot reading, reincarnation, spiritualism. Most people who have lost a loved one have probably wondered about the chance of one more connection, even if only fleetingly. 

The idea for a blog post came to me when reading one of those irresistible internet lists. This one was on ways of knowing whether a lost loved one is near. It was a long list - but three things stick in my mind. The appearance of feathers in unexpected places, water puddles and flickering lights. I can tick off both the latter, now that the radiator and the light fitting in the hall have been replaced. And feathers? Having teenage seagulls on the roof who are just coming into their adult plumage  can explain that. Am I being sceptical? Maybe? But it's still intriguing.

And then there are the magpies. I have one, sometimes two and occasionally eight or nine - a whole charm - that have taken to visiting the garden in the mornings. 

And magpies are supposed to signify the presence of magic. 

Wednesday 16 November 2022

With my Tribe

 Up to London last Friday to the Romantic Novelists Winter Party and Industry Awards Presentation. 

An 'excellence' of romantic novelists, collecting their badges.*

Having had to pass on the annual conference in July for boring medical reasons I was looking forward to seeing friends and generally having a good time. 

I wasn't disappointed. 

First of course was the decision what to wear. As most of my evening outfits shrunk in the pandemic I had a rummage in the wardrobe and found one that is quite venerable but still fitted! I don't wear black very often these days, but I was quite pleased about how it looked.  Then there was the train journey and a magical mystery tour to find my chosen hotel in the depths of the new skyscraper city behind Paddington station - which proved to be a good choice, although I didn't foresee at the time of booking that the tubes would be on strike. I just wish it had been easier to find!

I had a ramble down Oxford Street and the rarified atmosphere of Bond Street. Coveted shoes and jewels there. I saw Selfridges Christmas windows and the Christmas lights, including a spectacular angel flying over one of the streets just off Oxford Circus.  

I love London, having lived there for a couple of decades in the 70s and 80s. It's changed, but I still enjoy visiting. When you can combine that with a stellar night out - that's icing on the cake. I saw a lot of long term friends, had a good gossip, did a bit of networking, the results of which may become apparent next year, applauded the award winners - for a host of categories from librarians to editors. For more on the finalists and winners, take a look at the RNA Web pages and social media feeds. There was even a celebrity guest in the shape of the Duchess of York, now a best selling member of the Mills and Boon family with her historical debut Her Heart for a Compass. There was glamour, friendship and excitement. I'm looking forward to doing it again, but that probably won't be until the conference in 2023!

Thanks to author/photographer John Jackson for the pictures.  

*I looked up the collective noun for authors. Excellence was my favourite suggestion, but there was also quill, conjugation and a close runner up  - procrastination, which of course has nothing to do with the edits for Riviera 4 currently sitting in my in box. 

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Out and about

 Don't forget I'll be at Rhiwbina Beans on Saturday, chatting and signing books. 

Wednesday 9 November 2022


I'm  pleased to say I'm going to be a writer in residence at Rhiwbina Beans Coffee Shop on Saturday 19 November from 11 am onwards. 

If you've never met a writer in residence before, now is your chance. You can just drop in for a coffee and a chat - it would be lovely to meet you. As you know, I write romantic suspense and am always happy to talk about the writing process. There will also be the chance buy a book (or two) to take home if you would like to. 

If you are thinking about your Christmas list a signed book is great for stocking fillers, Secret Santa, a little 'extra' present for under the tree, 'Just in case'.  They can be signed with a personal message for the intended recipient if you want. 

Maybe chose one as a treat for yourself for Boxing Day  afternoon?  

Rhiwbina Beans is a cosy quirky welcoming place, with coffee, cakes and light snacks at 105  Heol Llanishen Fach Cardiff CF14 6RE

Hope to see you there. 

Rhiwbina Beans on Facebook

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Changing seasons

 Readers will have noticed that I write summer books - sunshiny holiday reading, albeit will some dark deeds under the surface, and maybe not always so far under. Publishing for romance stories seems to have polarised a bit lately - with authors producing a summer book for the holidays and then a Christmas book. Me? I'm a slow writer  and only manage to produce one book a year. I'm not big on Christmas books - although I have written one, and am tossing ideas around for another, but that is only at the ideas stage - so summer is my usual choice. 

With Halloween just passed though, it has made me think about the turn of the seasons. I've always had a bit of a thing for Halloween - as a teenager I always had a party. Although I don't celebrate that way or decorate the house these days, I would really like to write a Halloween book. It has been an ambition for years, although I'm not a big fan of autumn generally - the end of summer and the arrival of cold and darkness. I write with a strong element of darkness, but I find it rather depressing in real life.  Autumn seems to be rather a neglected season in romance terms and anchoring a book to Halloween might be thought to limit the readership to a few short weeks in October, but I would still like to do it. Maybe with a series like the Riviera books it would work? 

Spring is less neglected, as in the run up to summer the seasons slide into each other - warmth and light on the way -  although with the UK weather we can have snow in May, so who knows? I'm also tossing around an idea that would be anchored in spring - specifically the season for daffodils and tulips - but that s also something that has been incubating for a while and will probably continue to do so for  a while longer.

I like to attempt something slightly different when I write, although that can get me into trouble sometimes. It took a bit of manoeuvring to create a scenario of a runaway groom for A Wedding on the Riviera, but having read a couple of 'runaway bride' books, one after the other, I wanted to try it. It seems to have worked! 

Can I write two books set in seasons that are less well travelled? 

Still thinking about that one. It will likely be a while, but the idea is there.