Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Champagne, Chocolates and Crazy Horses

Well, this is it; it's Turning the Tide's official publication day today – yes, I know it first appeared at the beginning of June, on the fifth anniversary of my dad’s death, in fact, but this is its official birthday.

I began the morning with an early training run keeping my eyes open for escaped wildlife after a truly exciting run on Sunday morning when I could see a blockade in the road ahead of me. ‘Are you moving cows?’ I asked, as a born-again country girl in tune with the rhythm of nature. ‘No,’ said one of the fielders in a very strong Welsh accent. ‘Ment-al 'orses.’ After checking further down the line I got the all clear to ‘go, if you’re quick.’ At which point I shot off like a woman possessed.

I was just congratulating myself on getting out of trouble when there was a huge commotion just in front of me and two horses charged out of a gap in the hedge! Fortunately, they galloped away from me rather than towards me, all I had to worry about then was the cavalcade of cars and quad bikes speeding after them. Anyway, today I got home without any extra excitement from fierce dogs, smelly dead things (you really don’t want to know) or crazy horses.

Anyway, I was just sitting here having a quiet post-sausage-sandwich write when the doorbell went and a delivery man (actually, that’s another story, but I don’t want my publication day to scar me for life) handed over (finally) a parcel. Inside was a box of yummy Belgian chocolates, a bottle of Moet and a card wishing Turning the Tide a happy birthday from my lovely publishers, Choc Lit. Isn’t that lovely of them?

Since it is Turning the Tide’s official birthday, I’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone who’s supported me along the way – I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Sed Non Culpa Mea Est

It’s typical that after weeks of inactivity on the house front, there’s a rush*of viewings the very week that Stepson Two and Gorgeous Girlf are staying with us. Given that I’m fretting about how one book baby is faring in the big wide world whilst frantically gestating the other (actually that sounds a bit yucky, let’s not go there) there’s a fair bit on my mind.

On Monday afternoon the estate agent rings to make an appointment for the following evening. Or so I think. ‘6.30 tomorrow !’ I announce. On Tuesday afternoon we clear the house of clutter and people and I sit and wait for our viewers. I wait for half an hour and nothing happens so I summon the family home. Stepson Two and GG shrug it off, but Tom and I are both grumpy about the wasted time. I want to have a big rant at the person who stood us up but can’t because of a slight suspicion that I got the message wrong. After a night of wondering if I’m starting to crack, I ring the estate agents and get the happy news that it wasn’t me – hurray! Now I can have a rant!


Painting is 'Dinas Head' by Tom Tomos

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Wistful Thinking

Part of my daughter’s poorliness has meant a trip to hospital. When everything is done and dusted, Lily and I retreat to where the lovely WVS ladies are serving refreshments whilst we wait for Tom to collect us. The teas are 80p each and we ask for two. ‘£1.80!’ says the dear lady. We give her a surprised look and she has another bash, except I then throw everything into chaos by asking for a bag of Jelly Tots as well.

A young Asian man wanders in looking punch drunk, clutching a shiny, black and white image which is drying in his hand. The image is of what looks like a satellite picture of the weather forecast, all swirls and mists. It is, of course, an ultrasound image of his child and looking at the father-to-be's face as he gazes as it makes me feel both privileged and unintentionally intrusive. I tell Lily about the moment I heard her heartbeat for the first time, when I barely believed I was pregnant, now here she is, a grown woman.

For many months now a huge stack of paper has been sitting in a filing tray on the floor of my study. It’s the ‘final’ version of Turning the Tide, well, the one that was the final version before the editing process which was all done electronically anyway. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t need to keep it anymore, yet it was still quite a wrench to switch it to my recycling pile. Although I do most of my work straight on the computer, I still like to print out the WIP from time-to-time as reading a hard copy gives me a fresh perspective and I can sometimes hear the rhythm of the words better.

The other thing I like to do is set up a box file for each book filled with anything that makes me think about the plot; photographs, cuttings, maps, legal points. I felt a touch of sadness as I closed the box file for Turning the Tide, but at least the new one for the WIP is coming along nicely and that feels quite exciting.

And finally...
Phew! I can relax at last. MiL, who gave up reading novels, has made an exception for Turning the Tide. Although it was very sweet of her I was a tad worried as MiL is less than keen on dogs, boats, bad language and vigorous horizontal romps all of which feature at least once in the book. Fortunately, we both seem to have survived with MiL declaring it ‘quite good for a first effort’. I wonder who was most relieved?

Painting is 'Offshore Surf' by Tom Tomos

Sunday, 13 June 2010

And the winner is...

Thank you to all of you who entered the draw to win a copy of Turning the Tide. All the names were placed in a hat (one of my berets, in fact. I wasn't wearing it at the time 'though) and the one Tom picked out at random was... Elizabethd! I hope you enjoy it, Elizabeth.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Threading and Drawing

It’s all right, you can look – I’m not even going to mention You Know What ... well not until the end, anyway. Lily is poorly so we’re off to Cardiff today to give her some TLC. Looking after Lily means I won’t be a danger to myself in Cardiff, which is what happened a couple of weeks ago.

I had a few minutes before I was due to meet Tom so thought I’d wander round the new John Lewis store to look at all the things I can’t afford. But before I got there, I noticed a bevy of gorgeous women offering some sort of beauty treatment. For someone who’s resisted all that stuff all their life (and it shows, dear reader), I’ve been slightly seduced by my ten pound manicure in New York so I decided to take a closer look.

‘You want eyebrows threaded?’ said one lovely lady. Did I? I’m pale-skinned with fine hair, not exactly a rain forest among women, yet when I took a close look at the rest of them with their perfectly-arched eyebrows, I had a real desire to be in the Beautiful Eyebrow Gang.
'I don’t think there’s much to work with, is there?’ I said.
‘Oh yes. Here, here, here and here.’ What? Had I developed a werewolf gene when I wasn’t looking? The first tweak wasn’t too bad, but as what felt like millions of tiny downy hairs rained down on me, it really began to sting. No wonder women all around me were getting up from their treatment with red eyebrows and streaming eyes!

Fortunately it was over with very quickly and I was looking forwards to seeing my beautiful new eyebrows when I heard my technician say, ‘And now I take out the greys!’ What greys? Okay there is a little patch, like a clump of daisies growing in the grass, where I tobogganed downstairs in a grocery box (not recently, I hasten to add) and went through a glass front door, splitting my eyebrow open, but I didn’t think it was a problem!

At last my eyebrows were deemed gorgeous enough for me to join the Beautiful Eyebrow Gang and I was shown the result. And I have to say my eyebrows have never looked so amazing – shaping two clumps of hair I’ve never even thought about before made a huge difference! Or so I thought, until I met Tom - who didn’t notice!

And finally...
To make up for boring the pants off everyone about Turning the Tide, I’m giving a copy away. Just use the contact button my website and I’ll stick the names on a piece of paper and get Tom to draw one at random at midday Sunday 13 June.

Painting is ‘Sea, Sky, Early Heather’ by Tom Tomos