Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Eyeballs...

... I am up to them today. In view of author blog nomination thingy should probably be jumping up and down doing the 'oooh, look at me!' bit, but not v.comfortable doing that sort of thing anyway.

However, I have joined my fellow Choc Lit authors for a blog on how we got started. There are photos too. Sigh.

Friday, 26 March 2010

A few of my favourite books...

... can be seen at Choc Lit's Book Club this month.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A word from Mrs Grumpy-Grumpison


I’ve been a right old Grotbags this week. After the excitement of an imminent offer on our house at the end of last week which failed to materialise after our prospective buyer’s sale fell through, it was back to the trauma of showing folks round. ‘Oh, we’re cool about the social housing opposite,’ say the latest couple. I point out that the ‘social’ houses are affordable homes for key workers namely one teacher, one deputy head and a local government officer, but I can see they’re not convinced. A little later the estate agent phones to tell me that the couple like the house but ‘can’t say’ why it’s not for them. Well, I can. People, do your homework first and get real! The fact is that even in this part of the world you will not get a house this size and six acres of land in the middle of nowhere unless you have a much bigger budget or a time machine. Grrr!

Key worker homes are out then. But what about chickens? Surely it’s nice to have a few chickens in the garden? Well, yes – but not if the chickens don’t belong to you. Next-door’s hens have worked out that there’s a gap in the wire which leads to the paradise that is our garden. Whilst I don’t mind a few hens clucking about the place, Tom absolutely loathes them. But what I’m not terribly keen on is the amount of chicken-poo piling up around the place. I particularly don’t like it when I scoop some up on my skipping rope whilst having a little work out. Skipping is quite enough exercise on its own so I can do without the extra excitement of dodging flying chicken muck.

And talking of poo, I’m currently at that really horrid stage with novel#2 when it feels like our wormery. You add lots of good ingredients in anticipation of a glorious end product and forget you have to go through the stage where all you’ve got is the most disgusting mess. The only answer is to keep the process going. Sooner or later some alchemy starts to work and you get a tiny glimpse of magic and, in my case, cheer up immediately and feel wonderful. So, for Tom’s sake, I’d better get back to it...

Before I go we’re blogging on the subject of research over at Choc Lit’s Author Corner this week for anyone who’s ever wondered what you have to do to make your book feel real!

Painting is 'Coast near Dinas' by Tom Tomos

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Thrice Upon A Time


The way things have been this week I’m going to consult the wise and witty Little Brown Dog in her astrology mode to see if pesky planet Mercury is misbehaving again. Now one of the ‘rules’ of story-telling is the rule of three, you know the one. The eldest princess sets out to save the people and comes to grief in the deep, dark woods. The middle princess sets off and has such a good time she forgets about the people. And so it’s left to the plucky youngest princess to do the decent thing, complete the trial and save the people. (As the member of the family most likely to come to grief, I used to get rather fed up on behalf of the eldest princess).

Lately, life has been a fairy tale in many ways, but it’s also true to say this week has thrown up its share of frustrations. Monday saw me slaving over hot edits only to find that some naughty hand in cyberspace had performed some evil trickery which meant that I was busily editing the wrong version. Eeek! At the same time I was also trying to send a photo to the nice man at Fantastic Fiction who was kindly creating an author page for me. Nothing I did seemed to make the photo load properly. For a while I concluded that their system was taking fright at the sight of me, but I seem to be there at last, albeit in a rather kindly soft focus. My third trial with technology came yesterday, trying to send off one of the last big pieces of work for my OU diploma which, of course, took me three attempts. Grrr!

We also, it appears, have three potential buyers for the house, although they have properties to sell. I ought to be excited that things seem to be happening, but in the meantime I’m having trouble finding somewhere I would like to move to. Our initial hopes of finding ‘something remote’ seemed to have been well and truly dashed. Either someone else has pipped us to the post or there’s planning permission which will place the ‘remote’ property slap bang in the middle of a housing estate.

So it was with great excitement that we noticed a new to the market, uninhabited and astonishingly cheap property on a good-size plot. Although it was dark, we immediately set off to find it. After a bit of a hunt we located an unlit and uninviting tree-shrouded track.
‘Looks a bit creepy’ I suggested.
‘Nonsense!’ said Tom. ‘It’ll look completely different in the daylight.’

The next day we arranged to meet the estate agent at the property. Whilst we were waiting we explored the outside. The front of the house, bathed in sunshine, did indeed look very different, although it seemed to me that the back of the house was particularly cold. Then I noticed an alcove in the stone wall containing a statue. At first I thought it was just a bit of whimsy, but looking closely it appeared to be some sort of shrine and at the foot of the statue were offerings; a few silver coins and a silver earring. I didn’t think anymore about it until the estate agent arrived. She unlocked and went ahead of us turning on lights, but returned visibly shaken. No, there was nothing to see, but I knew within seconds of setting foot in the place that I could never live there. As the eldest princess, I have to be particularly wary of the deep, dark woods and that was one house I never wanted to see again!

Image is 'Welsh Landscape' by Tom Tomos

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Sweeping Through!


‘Well,’ said a friend, recently. ‘I suppose you’re just sitting round waiting for the book to come out now.’ Hmm, not quite. To be fair to her, I didn’t quite realise that having a novel accepted is just the first part of the process. Although you have to allow yourself a little time to enjoy that lovely warm glow, there’s plenty to get on with like cover designs, copy edits and (blush) PR stuff. There’s also the next book to write and, in my case, the final pieces of OU work to complete. I do feel as if someone just pressed the Busy Button, but, having ached for this for so long, I’m enjoying every moment.

And talking of buttons, Jenson Button features in the Choc Lit Author's Corner today. I’m still flying the flag for rugby but Christina and Sue are trying to persuade me that there’s magic in Formula 1.

I don’t know about fast men (or if I do I’m not saying here) but my 76 year-old Ma won a supermarket sweep which took place this morning. ‘Oh,’ said Ma on being informed of success by a thrilled Take A Break representative that she’d won. ‘I didn’t want to win that!’
So because the poor love has such a bad back and can’t walk properly they’ve allowed my brother-in-law to do it for her. I haven’t heard how they’ve got on yet – but I do know that from now on we’ll be trying to convince her to only enter competitions she does want to win!

Stop press! Ma & BiL scopped £450 in goodies and a £250 cash bonus! Not sorry now, eh, Ma?


Image is 'Beach' by Tom Tomos

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Holding Out For A Hero?


If you've been wondering where all the good men come from, wander over to
Choc Lit Author's Corner where we've been writing about where we find ours... Hmm, some of those good men are a tad naughty though.

Prolific Blogger Award


Look! Wasn’t it lovely of Debs and JJ to send this to me? Thank you!
There are a few rules that come attached to it:
1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers.
2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.
3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to This Post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky so that we all can get to know the other.

I'm passing it on to:

Mountainear for her high spots of life from the top of a low mountain.
gaelikaa for her diary of east/west life.
Fennie for a 'rag bag of odds and ends' where you'll always find something interesting.
Preseli Mags for her writings about life in the Preseli Hills... and because I can almost wave to her.
Cottage Garden for poetry on a Monday and for a blog that's visually stunning (hmm, not sure where you'll put this award,J!)
Helen Ginger for everything you wanted to know about writing, editing and publishing.
Exmoor Jane, a goddess amongst bloggers, the woman who set the bar back in the CL days!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Order, Out of Order


First of all, I’d like to say a very big thank you to those of you who have so kindly pre-ordered Turning The Tide. I especially appreciate that vote of confidence because the book’s not even due out until June. It means a lot because I really enjoyed writing the novel so it feels lovely to have that support. Also, I became very attached to the characters and very much hope that you will enjoy meeting them too.

I understand that at some point yesterday the system had a Funny Five Minutes and the pre-orders got thrown around a bit. The problem’s been identified and my Amazon entry should be back to normal soon. But, just so you know, Turning The Tide is also available for pre-order at W H Smith's, Tesco and The Book Depository(free postage).

And talking of funny five minutes,Tom and I went to his uncle’s 80th birthday party last weekend. We had a lovely time, but, rather like those lost tribes, we don’t mix with many large groups of people now and have both gone down with really horrible colds. I felt so ill yesterday, I had to lie down for a while which, as my family will tell you, is unheard of. Unfortunately this means I’ve had to rule myself out of next weekend’s Llanelli Half Marathon, which is a real bummer, but sometimes you just have to give in. I’ve also been a bit tardy about visiting other people’s blogs so, if I’ve missed you, I hope to catch up soon.